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Treatment Pulmonology

Periodic Leg Movements

Treatment for periodic leg movements is only necessary when it causes insomnia, daytime fatigue or is accompanied by restless legs syndrome (RLS). The first step in treating periodic leg movements or RLS is to determine if they result from an underlying medical condition and, if so, treating those causes. In many cases, this will eliminate the nighttime movements.

If this is unsuccessful, there are various medications available to treat both periodic leg movements and RLS. The three classes of drugs frequently used include benzodiazepines, Parkinson drugs and narcotics. These medications will not cure periodic leg movements or RLS, but will help to reduce or eliminate symptoms. It is important to know that they may cause side effects, which should be discussed with your doctor.

UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.

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