Restless Leg Syndrome Medication (2021)

Updated May, 2021
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There are several medications currently approved for the treatment of restless legs syndrome (RLS). Though many patients find relief through prescription medication through their physician, often times changes to your lifestyle is enough to manage your symptoms.

What is restless legs syndrome?

Restless legs syndrome, or RLS, is a condition that causes a sensation to the limbs of the body while trying to sleep. These sensations are often described as tingling, crawling, or the uncontrollable urge to move.

What causes restless legs?

There is no single known cause of restless legs syndrome. While genetics, pregnancy, and certain health conditions have been known to play a role, there are several lifestyle choices that also contribute to RLS. Some of these include:

  • Smoking or use of tobacco.
  • Inadequate daily exercise.
  • Side effects of prescription medication.

Is prescription medication the best treatment option?

For some people, prescription medication is the best option to manage restless legs. Some of the most commonly prescribed medication includes:

  • Ropinirole (Requip)
  • Pramipexole (Mirapex)
  • Gabapentin Enacarbil (Horizant)

However, it's important to note that not all cases of restless legs syndrome require treatment by prescription drugs. Many patients find relief for their symptoms by adopting life changes that support the management of RLS.

What are things I can do to relieve my restless legs?

It's important to maintain a sleep environment that is healthy and geared toward productive rest. Many people find relief through reducing ambient noise, limiting screen time before bed, and replacing old pillows, bedding, and mattresses. In addition to tailoring your sleep environment, you can also try:

  • Reducing alcohol and caffeine content, particularly close to bedtime.
  • Managing your symptoms of stress and anxiety.
  • Becoming more active. Many RLS patients practice yoga to help with muscle soreness.

Will a new mattress help with restless legs?

Changing your sleeping environment is necessary to manage your restless legs syndrome. Investing in a new mattress helps you find the comfort you need to achieve REM sleep and increase your level of productive rest. If you're looking to help control your symptoms and experience a more restful sleep, finding a new mattress is a wise step in the right direction.

When can I expect my restless legs syndrome to end?

While taking medicine, patients report relief for their symptoms as soon as a week after starting treatment. If your restless legs syndrome doesn't require medication, you can expect your RLS to subside gradually over the course of several weeks, though it depends on the extent of the changes you make to your life and your personal level of commitment.

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