Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS), a disorder which plagues patients with unpleasant odd sensations and an urge to move their legs keeps them up at night. Patients until now have been treated with the same medications used to treat Parkinson's disease. Though patients reported relief with these drugs, there are often significant side effects and long-term complications. Researchers in Spain have now discovered that medication commonly used to treat seizures may help patients suffering from RLS.
Researchers studied 24 patients who were given either a placebo or the medication gabapentin for a six-week period. Physical and neurological examinations were done at the beginning of the study, at the first visit, and at the end of the study. Researchers also conducted sleep studies to monitor movement during the night and the patients also kept a record of the symptoms while at home.
The results of all the examinations proved that gabapentin reduced the symptoms of RLS. The sleep lab studies that were conducted also indicated a decreased movement of legs in the night and an overall improvement in total sleep time and quality while patients were on the drug gabapentin. However, doctors suggested that extensive studies were needed to determine the long-term implications of the drug.