The usual treatment (conventional) for Restless legs syndrome (RLS) includes lifestyle improvements, self-help techniques and relaxation techniques. When these are not enough to relieve the symptoms of RLS then medications are often the next step.
The first class of medications that doctors treating RLS turn to is the Primary Class of RLS medications. This primary class includes:
- Sedative/hypnotic medication – Benzodiazepines and related drugs
Benzodiazepines sedatives (Restoril, Dalmane, Doral, Prosom, Xanax, Valium, Klonopin/Rivotril, Ativan, Serax)
Non-Benzodiazepines Sedatives (Ambien, Sonata, Imovane, Lunesta)
Drugs that are used to treat Parkinson’s Disease – Dopaminergic Drugs (Sinemet, Pariodel, Eldepryl/Deprenyl, Mirapex, Requip, Dostinex, Tasmar, Comtan, Symmetrel, the Neupro patch
Analgesic (pain killers) Medications – Opiates/Narcotics that are habit forming (addictive)
Anti-Seizure Medications (Neurontin, Tegretol, Depakene, Mysoline, Keppra, Gabitril, Topamax, Lyrica)
There are secondary class of RLS medications that physicians can turn to if relief is not found using the primary class of RLS medications.
There are recreational medication like Marijuana, and other new experimental mediations like Botox.
Individual Cases will Vary
Then there are the other RLS/PLMD treatments or therapies that will only work for some RLS patients but not all of them. This includes iron therapy, Folic Acid supplement, Vitamin B12, and also Magnesium.
Patients who have both RLS and varicose veins may benefit from receiving surgical treatment such as sclerotherapy of varicose veins.
Non-drug treatment for RLS consists of neuromuscular stimulation, mental activity such as doing mathematical calculation, crossword puzzles, and other mental games that allow the patient to take their mind off of the sensations in their limbs.
Physical measures/activity (stretching exercises, leg wrapping, foot tickling)
Other non-conventional treatments for RLS may not work for everyone who trys them and are not included in standard treatment because they have not been accepted by scientific method. These treatments have not undergone any of the rigorous clinical trials or statistical analysis that the conventional treatments have undergone. The non-conventional treatments should be discussed with a physician familiar with RLS before the patient pursues them. The non-conventional treatments for RLS include:
- Enzyme Therapy
Colloidal vitamins/supplements therapy
St. John’s Wort
Brewers Yeast Therapy
Avoidance of foods grown with Pesticides (eating organically grown foods)
Avoiding Mono and Diglycerides
Hydergine, DPLA, and Kava kava
Vegetable oil massage therapy
Enermed pulsed electromagnetic field generator
Foot Zoning as part of reflexology
Wearing devices on your feet called Cramp Busters
There are also many drugs and foods that have been shown to be useful to AVOID when trying to relieve symptoms of RLS, they include:
Caffeine (food and beverage)
Bladder Control Drugs
If you have been prescribed any medications for depression, bladder infections, psychotic episodes or any other medical condition in which these drugs to be avoided are being prescribed for you, please discuss possible RLS adverse effects. Do not take yourself off any medications that have been prescribed for you without a doctor’s advise to do so.