Treatment is aimed at reducing stress and helping the muscles relax. The following techniques may help:
Gentle stretching exercises
Low doses of pramipexole (Mirapex) or ropinirole (Requip) can be very effective at controlling symptoms in some people.
An antiseizure agent, gabapentin enacarbil (Horizant), was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2011 for moderate-to-severe RLS. Common side effects included mild sleepiness and dizziness.
The drug rotigotine (Neupro) was withdrawn from the US in 2008 because of concerns about absorption of the medication from the skin patch. The issue has since been corrected and the drug was approved in April 2012 for treatment of moderate-to-severe RLS.
If your sleep is severely disrupted, your health care provider may prescribe medications such as Sinemet (an anti-Parkinson's medication), gabapentin and pregabalin, or tranquilizers such as clonazepam. However, these medications may cause daytime sleepiness.
Patients with iron deficiency should receive iron supplements.
Low doses of narcotics may sometimes relieve symptoms of restless leg syndrome.
Restless leg syndrome is not dangerous or life-threatening, and it is not a sign of a serious disorder. However, it can be uncomfortable and disrupt your sleep, which can affect your quality of life.
Insomnia may occur.
Calling your health care provider
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if:
You have symptoms of restless leg syndrome
Your sleep is disrupted
Techniques to promote muscle relaxation and stress reduction may reduce the incidence of restless leg syndrome in people prone to the condition.
Biller J, Love BB, Schneck MJ. Sleep and its disorders. In: Bradley WG, Daroff RB, Fenichel GM, Jankovic J, eds. Bradley: Neurology in Clinical Practice. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Butterworth-Heinemann Elsevier; 2008:chap 72.
Lang AE. Other movement disorders. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 417.
Luc Jasmin, MD, PhD, Departments of Anatomy Neurological Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, and David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.