Opiate Pain Relievers for Restless Legs Syndrome
How It Works
Opioids are narcotics and are usually used to relieve pain. It is not known how these medicines relieve symptoms of restless legs syndrome.
Why It Is Used
Opioids are usually used for restless legs syndrome only when other drugs have not relieved symptoms. A doctor will usually prescribe only a small amount at first to see whether it helps.
How Well It Works
Low doses of opioids are sometimes used on an as-needed basis to treat symptoms that appear irregularly.
All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.
Here are some important things to think about:
Call your doctor if you have:
Common side effects of this medicine include:
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
You may become physically dependent on opioids if you take them regularly. Physical dependence is not addiction, but it is a gradual change in your body in response to the opioids. If you stop taking opioids abruptly, you may develop nausea, sweating, chills, diarrhea, and shaking. The physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms are not life-threatening. You can avoid withdrawal symptoms if you gradually stop taking the opioids over a set period of time, as prescribed by your doctor.
Some of these medicines have acetaminophen in them. Check the labels on all of the other nonprescription and prescription medicines that you take. Many medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take two or more medicines with acetaminophen in them unless your doctor tells you to. Taking too much acetaminophen can be harmful. If you have questions about this, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Dry mouth is common with these medicines. To help with dry mouth, you can chew sugarless gum, suck on sugarless candy, or melt ice in your mouth. If you continue to have problems with dry mouth after 2 weeks, call your doctor. Dry mouth can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.
There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.
Advice for women
If you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant, do not use any medicines unless your doctor tells you to. Some medicines can harm your baby. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. And make sure that all your doctors know that you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
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