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What medications cure restless legs syndrome?

Daily drug treatment is recommended only for people who have restless legs syndrome (RLS) symptoms at least three nights a week, or as determined by the doctor. Drugs used to treat primary restless legs syndrome do not cure the condition, but only relieve symptoms. When medication is used to treat restless legs syndrome, the following drugs are

used individually or in combination:

Dopaminergic agents - Dopaminergic agents are the first-line drugs for most restless legs syndrome patients. These drugs usually relieve the discomfort of restless legs syndrome symptoms and improve sleep quality. They include carbidopa/levodopa (Sinemet), pergolide (Permax), pramipexole (Mirapex) and ropinirole (Requip).

Dopamine agonists - These agents also increase dopamine levels in the brain but are less likely than levodopa to cause certain side effects. These drugs have their own side effects. These side effects may be especially difficult for older people. Examples are pergolide mesylate (Permax), bromocriptine mesylate (Parlodel), pramipexole (Mirapex), and ropinirole hydrochloride (Requip).

Benzodiazepines - These drugs are sedatives that improve sleep quality. They include clonazepam (Klonopin), temazepam (Restoril), triazolam (Halcion) and diazepam (Valium). Benzodiazepines appear to reduce nighttime awakenings due to PLMS. The benzodiazepine most commonly used to treat restless legs syndrome is clonazepam (Klonopin, Rivotril). The main disadvantage of this drug type is that it causes daytime drowsiness.

Opioids - Narcotic medications can relieve mild to severe symptoms, but they may be addicting if used in too high doses. Some examples include codeine, the combination medicine oxycodone and acetaminophen (Percocet, Roxicet), and the combination medicine hydrocodone and acetaminophen (Vicodin, Duocet).

Anticonvulsants - These medicines are especially useful in patients whose symptoms are painful. They include gabapentin (Neurontin), carbamazepine (Tegretol and others) and valproic acid (Depacon, Depakene, Depakote). These agents are used to treat severe muscle spasms.

Other Agents - Clonidine (Catapres), a drug used for high blood pressure, is helpful for some patients. The anti-spasm drug baclofen (Lioresal) appears to reduce intensity but not frequency of movements.

More information on restless legs syndrome

What is restless legs syndrome? - Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a condition that produces an intense, often irresistible urge to move the legs caused by or associated with unpleasant feelings in them.
What causes restless legs syndrome? - The cause of restless legs syndrome remains unknown. Restless legs syndrome is a central nervous system disorder. Stress generally makes restless legs syndrome worse.
What're the risk factors for restless legs syndrome? - Risk factors for restless legs syndrome include pregnancy, osteoarthritis, varicose veins, diabetes, iron deficiency anemia, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis.
What're the complications of restless legs syndrome? - Severe and persistent restless legs syndrome symptoms can cause considerable mental distress, chronic insomnia, and daytime sleepiness.
What're the symptoms of restless legs syndrome? - Restless legs syndrome symptoms are unpleasant or uncomfortable feelings or sensations in the legs often described as creeping, crawling, tingling, pulling.
How is restless legs syndrome diagnosed? - The diagnosis of restless legs syndrome is based primarily on the patient's history. Polysomnography may be used to rule out other sleep disorders.
What's the treatment for restless legs syndrome? - Treatment of restless legs syndrome depends on the severity of symptoms. Medications used to treat restless leg syndrome include carbidopa, levodopa, opioids.
What non-drugs therapies are available? - Exercise may be one of the best ways to achieve healthy sleep. Stimulus control is the standard treatment for primary chronic insomnia. Paradoxical intention is a psychological approach.
What medications cure restless legs syndrome? - Daily drug treatment is recommended only for people who have restless legs syndrome (RLS) symptoms at least three nights a week.
How to prevent restless leg syndrome? - Prevention of sleeplessness is dependent upon the patient's ability to relax. Diet is very important in preventing restless legs syndrome.
What's periodic limb movement disorder? - Periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD) is repetitive cramping or jerking of the legs during sleep.
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