Opioids for Restless Leg Syndrome

Some opioid medications may include:

An opioid is a class of medications used for the treatment of severe pain. This medicine seems to be effective in treating the symptoms of restless Leg Syndrome. Opioid medication is recommended for patients with severe symptoms because Restless Leg Syndrome and pain appear to share the same mechanism in the central nervous system.

  • Tramadol
  • Codeine
  • Oxycodone
  • Hydrocodone

 Restless Leg Syndrome is an unpleasant sensation in the legs that keep you up during the night. It gives you the urge to move your legs especially when you are at rest or relaxing. People with Restless Leg Syndrome may experience itching, aching, or tingling sensations in the legs which sometimes also affect the arms. Anyone can have this type of condition but it is more common in older adults as well as in women.

How do opioid medications work?

If you have a mild muscle ache or headache, an over-the-counter pain reliever is usually sufficient to make you feel better. However, if your pain is more severe, your doctor may recommend something stronger which is an opioid prescription. Opioids are a type of narcotic pain medication but tend to have serious side effects if you don’t use them properly. For people who have an opioid addiction, their problem frequently started with a prescription.

The opioid medication works by binding to opioid receptors in the spinal cord, brain, and other parts of the body. They signal your brain that you are not in pain. This type of drug is usually used to treat moderate to severe pain that may not respond well to other pain medications.

Taking Opioid Medication

Before you start taking opioids, you may need a prescription from your doctor. The doctor could adjust the dosage as needed to help control pain. You might receive around-the-clock dosages to manage pain throughout the day and night. Also, your doctor may recommend opioids to be taken as needed in case you have breakthrough pain.

While you are taking opioid pain medications, check in with your doctor regularly. Your doctor will need to know:

  • How your pain is reacting to the medicine
  • Whether you’re having any side effects or you’re taking the medicine properly
  • Whether you have any possible interactions or medical conditions that can make you more likely to have side effects, such as alcohol use, sleep apnea, or kidney problems

Do not change or stop taking any opioid medication without first checking with your doctor. If pain medicine isn’t working as well as it should, your doctor may change you to a different dosage or may try another medicine.  

When you are ready to stop taking opioids, your doctor may help stop them gradually especially if you have taken them for a long time. It is to give your body time to adjust otherwise you might have withdrawal symptoms.

Opioid Medication Side Effects

One of the reasons why a doctor needs to manage pain medications so closely is that they can cause side effects such as:

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness
  • Constipation

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