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RLS Foundation


5. What non-drug treatments are recommended for RLS?

In addition to medications, there are other things you and your doctor

can consider when trying to help you deal with RLS. These options may


Checking to see if there is an underlying iron or vitamin deficiency

and then possibly supplementing your diet with iron, vitamin B12 or


Looking at medications you may be taking which make RLS worse. These

may include drugs used to treat high blood pressure, heart conditions,

nausea, colds, allergies and depression.

Looking at any herbal and over-the-counter medicines you may be taking

to see if they could be worsening your RLS.

Identifying habits and activities that worsen RLS symptoms.

Looking at your diet to assure it is healthy and balanced.

Discussing whether or not antihistamines could be contributing to your RLS.

Eliminating your alcohol intake.

Looking at various activities that may help you personally deal with

RLS. These could include walking, stretching, taking a hot or cold

bath, massaging, acupressure, or relaxation techniques.

Attempting to keep your mind engaged with activities like discussions,

needlework or video games when you have to stay seated.

Implementing a program of good sleep habits.

Possibly eliminating caffeine from your diet to aid in general sleep hygiene.

By arming yourself with information, you have taken the first step

toward defeating RLS. However, your optimum plan requires that you

work together with your healthcare provider.

Some things that you can do to help eliminate or reduce the need for

drugs include:

Living a healthy lifestyle.

Eliminating symptom-producing substances.

Taking vitamin and mineral supplements as necessary.

Engaging in activities which help take your mind off of RLS.

Avoiding or eliminating foods or medicines that aggravate your symptoms.

If you do need medication, careful trials may be necessary to find the

medication and dosage that works best for you, and sometimes a

medication that worked well in the past may become ineffective.

Because no single treatment for RLS is entirely effective for

everyone, continued research is of vital importance. Until we find the

cause of RLS and a cure for it, your best approach is to work closely

with your healthcare provider, join a local RLS support group, and

explore both non-drug and drug treatments. These strategies offer the

most reliable approach to living a happy and productive life in spite

of having RLS.

8. Are there any medications that can make RLS worse?

Yes. These include:

Antihistamines (like Benadryl) found in many cold, allergy and over

the counter sleeping pills.

Anti-dizzy, anti-nausea medications like meclizine, Compazine,

Phenergan and Reglan.

Antidepressants such as Elavil, Prozac, Lexapro, Effexor.

Psychiatric medications that treat bipolar disorders, schizophrenia

and other serious disorders such as haloperidol and phenothiazines.

Always be sure that your healthcare provider is aware of all the

medicines you are taking, including herbal and over-the-counter



Not an MD

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