By: Jessica McInnis
- Lifestyle changes and activities may provide some relief in persons with mild to moderate symptoms of RLS. These steps include avoiding or decreasing the use of alcohol and tobacco, changing or maintaining a regular sleep pattern, a program of moderate exercise and massaging the legs, taking a warm bath, or using a heating pad or ice pack. Use of medical devices such as a foot wrap that puts pressure underneath the foot and another that is a pad that delivers vibration to the back of the legs. Aerobic and leg-stretching exercises of moderate intensity also may provide some relief from mild symptoms.
- A trail of iron supplements is recommended as the first treatment for individuals with low or low-normal blood tests called ferritin and transferrin saturation.
- Anti-seizure drugs, specifically gabapentin enacarbil, is becoming the first-line prescription drug for those with moderate to severe RLS. This drug can decrease such sensory disturbances as creeping and crawling as well as nerve pain. Other dopamine-related medications are effective in managing RLS symptoms also, however, long-term use can lead to worsening of the symptoms in many individuals.
- Opioids are sometimes prescribed to treat individuals with more severe symptoms of RLS who did not respond well to other medications.
- Benzodiazepines can help individuals obtain a more restful sleep. These are the last-line drugs due to their side effects.