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  4. How is RLS treated?

Restless Legs SyndromeHow is RLS treated?

Restless legs syndrome can be treated with or without medication (drug- or non-drug-based therapies).

Treatment without medication: Non-drug therapy

When symptoms are mild, they can sometimes be alleviated through lifestyle changes.

Non-drug treatment of restless legs syndrome

Iron supplementation

  • In the case of iron deficiency, iron is taken.
  • Women may experience iron deficiency due to menstruation. Patients are asked to eat more iron-rich foods, along with nutrients that allow iron to be more easily absorbed.

Treatment of any underlying conditions

  • Other diseases or conditions may be causing the RLS. Let your doctor know if you have other illnesses or are taking medications.

Abstain from caffeine, alcohol and smoking

  • Caffeinated drinks make RLS symptoms worse, and further impede the absorption of iron. Therefore, it is best to avoid excessive caffeine intake.
  • Alcohol and smoking can also exacerbate RLS symptoms, so refrain from those as much as possible too.

Improvement of sleeping habits

  • Maintain a regular sleep schedule.
  • Avoid strenuous exercise before going to bed.
  • Take a short walk or massage the legs before bedtime.

Other

  • Symptoms may also be reduced through temperature stimulation such as a bath or shower. Some people benefit from warm water and others from cooler water.
  • Sometimes symptoms can be caused by being too sedentary, or conversely by exercise that is overly intense.
  • Free time often causes patients to focus on the sensations in their legs. Try to engage in a hobby or some other interest to divert attention away from symptoms.

Treatment with medication: Drug therapy

Treatment with medication is used for patients with severe symptoms. Currently in Japan, two types of oral medication and a patch medication have been approved as treatments for restless legs syndrome.

Treatments for restless legs syndrome (as of December 2014)

Drug classification Dosage forms
Dopamine agonists
Supplements the function of weakened dopamine-producing nerve cells
Oral medication
Patch medication
Anticonvulsant drug
Suppresses nerve excitement and symptoms
Oral medication