Treating Restless Leg Syndrome

Overview

For mild cases of restless leg syndrome, practicing good sleep hygiene may be key to improving how you feel.

Although there is no cure for restless leg syndrome, the goal of medical therapy is to control the symptoms and allow a restful night’s sleep. Your doctor may work with you to try to determine if there is an underlying cause, such as an iron deficiency. If that is the case, your doctor may recommend therapy or medication to treat the underlying condition.

If symptoms progress or if the self-care options don’t help, there are some prescription medications that may help.

Medications

Currently, the US Food and Drug Administration has approved only two medications—ropinirole and pramipexole —specifically for the treatment of RLS.

In addition, your doctor has several other options that may help manage the symptoms of restless leg syndrome and allow better sleep. Options that may help increase relaxation or control mild symptoms include pain medications, sleep aids or anticonvulsants. Many medications for the treatment of RLS carry significant side effects, including the risk of developing a dependency. Talk with your doctor about any concerns.

Your physician has a wide range of therapies to work from and may recommend different dosages or combinations of these medications that best work for you. Over time, a medication may lose its effectiveness for a particular patient, and must be adjusted.