Restless legs syndrome can be treated with or without medication (drug- or non-drug-based therapies).
Restless Legs SyndromeHow is RLS treated?
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
- 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.
- 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|
Supplements the function of weakened dopamine-producing nerve cells
Suppresses nerve excitement and symptoms