Other Medications

Earlier I wrote about medicines for restless legs. This was in my blog about dopamine. RLS can be a result of a lack of dopamine. The drugs most commonly prescribed for people with troubled legs today are the so-called dopamine agonists. This medication mimics the action of dopamine.

There are also other medications for restless legs. These are prescribed, for example, when the dopamine agonists do not work sufficiently or when there is augmentation. With augmentation, the patient has to deal with a worsening of the complaints, even if he or she takes more and more of the medicines. The complaints are sometimes even worse than before the time someone took medication.

The other drugs I’m referring to are an alternative to dopamine agonists. These have a different “entrance” than dopamine deficiency. All medications used for RLS are not specifically designed for restless legs. Dopamine agonists, for example, have mainly been developed for people with Parkinson’s disease. In addition, they are prescribed in much lower doses to people with restless leg syndrome.


An alternative to dopamine agonists are the so-called anti-epileptics. These are medications that are prescribed for the treatment of epilepsy and nerve pain. Two of them are:

Gabapentin and pregabalin ensure that nerves are less stimulated. The nerves in turn send signals less quickly to muscles. People with restless legs can also benefit from this.

Common side effects with both medications are fatigue, drowsiness, and dizziness. In some cases psychiatric side effects occur.


In a severe version of restless legs, opiates (or opioids) are sometimes chosen. These are narcotics or pain killers. Examples of this are:

  • Oxycodone (with nalaxone)
  • Tramadol
  • Methadone

Oxycodone ensures that the signal from restless legs does not get through to the brain so well. This makes someone feel less of the symptoms of RLS. Tramadol and methadone work as pain relievers for people with restless legs. Methadone is a stronger opiate than tramadol.

Most common side effects are constipation, nausea, dizziness and headache. There is always the risk of addiction with opiates. If you want to stop, it will have to be done gradually.

Sleeping pills

Benzodiazepines or sleeping pills are the third alternative. In the past, sleeping pills were prescribed more than now as a remedy for insomnia. The risk is that habituation will occur and that you therefore need higher and higher doses for the same effect. It can also be addictive if you use it chronically.

Sleeping pills can be divided into long-acting, medium-acting and short-acting. Examples of this are:

  • Clonazepam (long-acting)
  • Temazepam (medium-acting)
  • Lorazepam (medium-acting)
  • Oxazepam (medium-acting)
  • Zolpidem (short-acting)
  • Zopiclone (short-acting)

Side effects are drowsiness, muscle weakness and mental dysfunction in the morning. The elderly are extra sensitive to this.

7 thoughts on “Other Medications”

  1. Posts waarbij vooral de wat alternatievere medicatie niet wordt genoemd is naar mijns inziens enigszins eenzijdig en gekleurd…en juist omdat er niet iets eenduidig is, is het m.i. wel belangrijk om de wat alternatievere medicatie wo marihuana en kratom ook te noemen…met de kanttekening dat deze opiaten minder schadelijk zijn dan de reguliere opiaten en makkelijker om van af te komen. Als voorbeeld, het heeft mij héééél vééél gekost om van lorazepam af te komen, om maar iets te noemen. Dus, bezind eer ge begint!


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