Iron supplements. Iron deficiency is a common underlying cause of RLS. Your doctor may prescribe iron supplements to help relieve symptoms. However, only take these supplements as directed by your doctor. Taking too much iron can prevent the body from absorbing other important nutrients, causing side effects.
Dopamine agonist. A dopamine agonist is a drug that mimics the effects of dopamine to relieve restless legs symptoms. Drugs like pramipexole are often the first line of defense against severe RLS. However, they can cause side effects like daytime sleepiness and nausea. They can also lead to impulse control disorders, like excessive gambling or shopping. Long-term use of dopamine drugs can also contribute to augmentation, or a progressive worsening of RLS symptoms. You may start to experience symptoms earlier in the day. Symptoms may be more frequent and intense, or they may start to affect your arms. Be sure to talk to your doctor about the risks of augmentation and how it can be managed.
Anticonvulsant medications. Anticonvulsant medications like gabapentin enacarbil (Horizant) and gabapentin (Neurontin) can help reduce the unpleasant leg sensations of RLS. They are not associated with augmentation.
Benzodiazepines. These medications are usually prescribed to treat anxiety, muscle spasms, and insomnia. They do not treat RLS itself, but they can help you sleep better at night.
Opioids. For severe RLS that does not respond to other treatments, your doctor may prescribe low-dose opioid medications. However, these medications may worsen sleep apnea, cause unpleasant side effects, and lead to addiction. Be sure to talk with your doctor and follow their instructions when taking these medications.
Vitamins and supplements. Some research has indicated that vitamin C, D, and E supplements can help with restless legs. Some people also find magnesium helpful for RLS, as it is a natural muscle relaxant. However, be sure to consult with your doctor before taking any supplements or vitamins. These products are often unregulated and may not actually help your condition. They may even cause harmful side effects. Additionally, taking too much of a vitamin can prevent the absorption of other important nutrients.
Many of these medications should not be taken while pregnant. If you are pregnant and experience restless legs syndrome, talk to your doctor about what options you have.