What is the Best Medication for Restless Leg Syndrome?
The best remedy for restless leg syndrome may not be medication but rather the cutting-edge vein treatment offered by a qualified vein disease specialist.
Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a neurological disorder that causes an irresistible urge to move the legs, often accompanied by tingling, creeping, or crawling sensations. It can be a frustrating and disruptive condition that can interfere with sleep and daily activities. If you are struggling with RLS, you may wonder what the best over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription medicine is for managing your symptoms.
Restless Leg Syndrome and Vein Disease
Before we discuss medication options for restless legs, it's important to understand that RLS is often caused by an underlying condition called venous insufficiency, also known as vein disease. Vein disease occurs when the diseased or damaged veins in the legs cannot effectively pump blood back to the heart, leading to blood pooling in the legs. Vein disease can cause various symptoms, such as leg pain, swelling, cramping, skin changes, leg ulcers, and RLS.
Vein disease also is the root cause of other common vein conditions—including varicose and spider veins. More than 40 million Americans suffer from varicose veins or spider veins.
What to Do if You Have Restless Legs Syndrome
If you are experiencing RLS, it's essential to seek advice from a board-certified vein doctor. If vein disease is detected, the vein specialist may recommend minimally invasive vein treatment such as sclerotherapy, radiofrequency ablation, or endovenous laser treatment to repair damaged veins and improve blood flow. These outpatient vein treatment options can help alleviate your RLS symptoms without the side effects caused by medications.
Medications to Treat Restless Leg Syndrome
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, “there is no one drug which works for everybody, but most individuals with restless legs syndrome will find some benefit and relief with the currently available medications.” The following drugs may or may not need a prescription:
Iron supplement: According to the National Library of Medicine (NIH), iron, taken as a pill or given as an injection into the bloodstream, is better than a placebo for reducing the severity of restless legs syndrome symptoms, although the benefit was low to moderate.
Magnesium supplement: Commonly recommended for leg cramps, magnesium can work to relax the muscles. Magnesium is found in dark leafy greens, whole grains, lentils, beans, and nuts.
Folate (vitamin B9) supplement: B9 increases blood flow and may help RLS symptoms. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), it is essential for pregnant women as it helps prevent congenital disabilities. B9 supplements can be prescribed, but folic acid is also found in liver, leafy green vegetables, asparagus, orange juice, fortified flour, avocados, and legumes.
Caution: OTC sleeping medicines such as Benadryl (an antihistamine) and melatonin may worsen RLS symptoms.
Now, let's talk about prescription-only options for managing RLS. Remember, a physician must monitor the use of these medications:
Dopaminergic medications: These medications increase dopamine levels, a chemical messenger in the brain that helps regulate movement.
Benzodiazepines: These medications can help to relax the muscles and promote sleep, making them helpful for managing RLS symptoms that occur at night.
Anticonvulsants: These medications are typically used to treat seizures, but they can also be effective in relieving RLS symptoms.
Opioids: These medications can help to relieve pain and improve sleep, making them helpful in managing RLS symptoms. However, they can be highly addictive and must be used with extreme caution under strict medical supervision.
Limitations of Medication for Restless Leg Syndrome
It's important to note that all medications can have unwelcome side effects and may not be suitable for everyone. It's always a good idea to speak with a healthcare provider before taking any medicines, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are taking other medications. Your healthcare provider can help you determine the best treatment option for your needs.
In conclusion, the best medicine for restless leg syndrome will depend on your specific symptoms and underlying conditions. Several medications can manage RLS symptoms; however, speak with a healthcare provider before taking any medications to ensure they are safe and appropriate for your specific needs.
Schedule with a Vein Specialist
If you are experiencing RLS and have underlying vein problems such as varicose veins, leg pain, cramping, or ulcers, it's essential to seek guidance from an experienced vein specialist like the experts at Center for Vein Restoration.
Center for Vein Restoration (CVR), America’s largest physician-led vein center, improves lives by providing safe, personalized treatment options for vein disease. With 100+ vein clinics nationwide, there’s a good chance that there is a CVR vein center near you. Vein treatment is covered by most insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid.
Call 800-FIX-LEGS to speak to a helpful Patient Services Representative with questions or schedule a consultation. Or, you can book an appointment online, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.