There is currently no cure for WED/RLS, but many treatment options are available to help manage symptoms. Our patient publications are a great starting point for information:
Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment for the Patient Living with Willis-Ekbom disease/Restless Legs Syndrome
This brochure is written for those with WED/RLS, family members and others in search of more information about WED/RLS. This brochure highlights the symptoms and treatments, and identifies secondary causes of WED/RLS.
Your doctor can help you explore ways to lessen your symptoms through lifestyle changes, self-care and medication. If you need medication, your provider will guide you through careful trials to find a drug and dosage that works best for you. Creating your treatment strategy may also involve:
- Checking to see if you have an iron deficiency, and possibly supplementing your diet with iron.
- Examining other prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications or herbal remedies you may be taking. For example, drugs commonly used to treat high blood pressure, nausea, colds, allergies and depression can trigger WED/RLS symptoms.
- Identifying any habits or activities that worsen your symptoms.
- Reviewing your diet to ensure it is healthy and balanced.
- Eliminating your alcohol intake after 6:00 p.m.
- Finding activities that help you cope. These might include walking, stretching, taking hot or cold baths, massage, acupressure or relaxation techniques.
- Finding ways to keep your mind engaged while you are sitting, with activities like discussions, needlework or video games.
- Eliminating caffeine from your diet to help you sleep better.
- Implementing a program of good sleep habits and coping strategies.
What is augmentation?
Augmentation occurs when a dopaminergic agent successfully relieves symptoms at night, but eventually, symptoms start to develop earlier in the day, and symptoms spread from the legs to the arms and trunk. In this case, increasing the dosage usually worsens symptoms. If augmentation occurs, you and your doctor can work together to find a new medication strategy that will work for you. Be sure to talk with your doctor before making changes to your regimen.
To learn more, download our handout on Augmentation, available to Foundation Members, join today!
Non-Medication Strategies to Manage WED/RLS
Some people use a nonpharmacologic approach either in place of (alternative therapy) or in addition to drug treatment (complementary therapy). The following handouts are available in to Foundation Members, join today!
- WED/RLS Triggers Handout
- Coping Strategies Handout
- Exercise Handout
- Complementary Therapies Handout
Please note: the information provided on these pages is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a substitute for the advice of a healthcare provider.
Member Survey on WED/RLS Management
A “Patient Odyssey” survey, conducted by the Willis-Ekbom Disease (WED) Foundation and sponsored by XenoPort, Inc., provides important new insights regarding the management of RLS/WED. The survey was designed to measure how RLS/WED impacts daily living, both from the perspective of patients as well as spouses/partners, including treatment considerations, emotional well-being, relationships and lifestyle. By assessing the findings, WED Foundation will be able to develop new tools to support patients, partners/spouses and physicians as they work together to achieve long-term disease management; the Foundation will also utilize the survey findings to help create greater understanding of RLS/WED among the general public.
The survey was sent to more than 3,000 members of the WED Foundation; members also received companion surveys to provide to their spouses/partners. More than 1600 adult patients (70% women; 30% men) and more than 670 adult spouses/partners (65% men; 35% women) responded to the survey, either online or by mail. The survey was fielded from October 7-November 8, 2013. To view the results, click on the links below.
Patient Odyssey Survey
Caregiver Odyssey Survey