Anxiety drug can treat restless legs syndrome, improve sleep

Anxiety drug can treat restless legs syndrome, improve sleepWashington, Apr 30 : A drug, called pregabalin-commonly used to treat seizures and anxiety-has now been implicated as an effective treatment for restless legs syndrome (RLS), according to a study.

The 12-week study involved 58 people with RLS, out of which, 30 received the drug pregabalin and the rest received placebo.

The researchers performed sleep studies at the beginning and end of the research.

Almost two-thirds of the people who took pregabalin were found to have no RLS symptoms while taking the drug.

People who still had symptoms, reported of improvement in those symptoms by 66 percent while taking the drug, as compared to the placebo group where symptoms worsened by 29 percent.

In fact, improvement in sleep was also reported for those taking pregabalin.

The study showed the group spent more time in slow wave sleep, otherwise known as Stage 3 or deep sleep, and they spent less time in the lighter sleep stages known as Stage 1 or Stage 2 sleep compared to those taking placebo.

"Since RLS symptoms get worse at night, it''s difficult for people with RLS to get adequate sleep. However, our findings show pregabalin helped people get more deep sleep. The drug was well tolerated and is a promising alternative to current treatments because of its superior effects on quality of sleep," said study author Diego Garcia-Borreguero, MD, Director of the Sleep Research Institute in Madrid, Spain.

Pregabalin has been approved for epilepsy, nerve pain, generalized anxiety and fibromyalgia.

The study will be presented as part of the Late-breaking Science Program at the American Academy of Neurology''s 61st Annual Meeting in Seattle. (ANI)