There may now be relief for some people with RLS.
Researchers have found that a drug used to treat seizures and anxiety may now aid people suffering from Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS).
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) “is a neurological condition that is characterized by the irresistible urge to move the legs.” According to the RLS Foundation, certain criteria must be met to be diagnosed with this condition:
* You have a strong urge to move your legs which you may not be able to resist. The need to move is often accompanied by uncomfortable sensations. Some words used to describe these sensations include: creeping, itching, pulling, creepy-crawly, tugging, or gnawing.
* Your RLS symptoms start or become worse when you are resting. The longer you are resting, the greater the chance the symptoms will occur and the more severe they are likely to be.
* Your RLS symptoms get better when you move your legs. The relief can be complete or only partial but generally starts very soon after starting an activity. Relief persists as long as the motor activity continues.
* Your RLS symptoms are worse in the evening especially when you are lying down. Activities that bother you at night do not bother you during the day.
A twelve week study was done that involved 58 people with RLS. The drug pregabalin was given to 30 people, while the rest received a placebo. The people participated in sleep studies done at the beginning and end of the research.
Researchers found that about two-thirds of the people taking pregabalin had no symptoms of RLS while on the drug. For the people that still reported symptoms, those symptoms were improved by 66 percent. The symptoms of the people in the placebo group had worsened by 29 percent.
Participants also reported sleeping better.
“Since RLS symptoms get worse at night, it's difficult for people with RLS to get adequate sleep,” said study author Diego Garcia-Borreguero, MD, Director of the Sleep Research Institute in Madrid, Spain. “However, our findings show pregabalin helped people get more deep sleep. The drug was well tolerated and is a promising alternative to current treatments because of its superior effects on quality of sleep.”
The study was supported by Pfizer Inc. and will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 61st Annual Meeting.