Pramipexole and Restless Leg Syndrome

Last updated: March 26, 2019

The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. Read our full medical disclaimer.

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) or Willis Ekbom Disease, is a disorder that causes an undesirable tension in the legs with an uncontrollable urge to move them. This occurs when someone has been sitting for a long period of time with no leg movement or when there is prolonged inactivity.

People often times misjudge Restless Leg Syndrome as ordinary leg pain. This is the reason why the disorder is one of the most undertreated sleeping problems. According to a recent survey, one in ten adult Americans suffers from RLS. The more serious truth is that 5% – 15% of these adults are underdiagnosed.

Symptoms of this movement-related disorder usually increase late afternoon and are the cruelest at night when people are resting in bed. It is an unpleasant feeling of moving your legs even when you are at rest. Since these symptoms manifest mostly in the evening, this could be difficult for people to sleep or to stay asleep. One of the known medications that can alleviate these symptoms is Pramipexole.

What is Pramipexole?

Pramipexole is a member of the dopamine-receptor agonist drug classification. This oral medicine is generally known for its ability to counter Parkinson’s Disease. In fact, it has been used to counter the disease since 1997. But this powerful drug is not only limited to providing a treatment for the condition. Pramipexole also plays a vital role in helping patients with Restless Leg Syndrome.  

Pramipexole, or commonly known as Mirapex, functions as a neurotransmitter in our brain. Neurotransmitters are our body’s messenger between the nerves. This drug triggers nerve impulses in the brain that are responsible for distributing excessive body movement. This is the result of dopamine receptors increasing sensitivity to boost dopamine activity in the body.

This drug was first approved by the US Food and Drug Association in 1997.

This drug has shown considerable results and is regarded as being well tolerated in RLS treatment. Clinical trials have been executed and only mild to moderate adverse events have been reported.

Keep in mind though that Pramipexole is not bound to totally get rid your Restless Leg Syndrome. It only reduces the likelihood of symptom occurrence. This drug only caters for short-term treatment. Have yourself examined by your physician after 3-4 months. There hasn’t been a single study supporting the efficacy of this drug for long-term use.

How does Pramipexole work for restless legs?

Years of thorough examination has passed and still, the definitive explanation of how Pramipexole treats Restless Leg Syndrome is unclear. Although scientists strongly believe that this drug penetrates our nervous system and acts as a dopamine replacement.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter. Our bodies function properly through the use of neurotransmitters. Each of our neurotransmitters has a distinct function that keeps our body free from abnormalities. Parkinson’s Disease patients are missing the dopamine neurotransmitter in their brain, which is undergoing research as a potential cause of the syndrome. The same explanation is also applied to patients suffering from Restless Leg Syndrome.

What is the standard dose intake of Pramipexole?

For adults, the recommended dosage is 0.125 mg and the maximum dosage is 0.5 mg. Although a person’s body is strong enough to tolerate the maximum dosage, take only what your doctor advised you. Your doctor will increase your dose intake if your body needs it.

There hasn’t been any study showing the effectiveness of this medicine in children. This drug is not suitable for you if you are under the age of 18.

What should I avoid while taking Pramipexole?

Avoid alcohol intake while you are prescribed Pramipexole. Alcohol can increase the chances of side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness or difficulty in concentrating. Some people may also have a hard time thinking and impaired judgment.

Never increase your dose intake when not advised by the doctor. Pramipexole is medicine requiring a doctor’s prescription. Also, avoid any extreme activities that require your alertness such as driving or operating any machinery. Your ability to focus will decrease as a side effect of overdosing.

Avoid missing your dose schedule. A night of missed Pramipexole can change the course of the effect of the medicine. It will restart and can worsen your condition.

When should I take Pramipexole?

You should take this once per day, with or without food. Pramipexole is also best taken at night, as Restless Leg Syndrome is often associated with sleeping disorders. The calming effect of this medicine takes about 30 minutes to effect, and will greatly help you put to a sound sleep.

What are the side effects of Pramipexole?

Just like any other medicine, chances of side effects of Pramipexole rise up if you don’t follow your prescription. Common side effects include:

  • Dry lips
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Heartburn
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Headache and dizziness
  • Feeling of overtiredness
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Changes in eyesight
  • Bladder problems
  • Back pain

Improper monitoring of these side effects will lead to depression in the worst case scenario. Contact your physician whenever one of these side effects occur.

Even with all the information you’ve read, it is still best to consult a doctor first before resorting to any medication. Medicines are supposed to better your condition. But without proper doctor guidance and monitoring, you’re only risking your health.

Assess yourself for any RLS symptoms and consult your doctor if Pramipexole is the best medicine for your condition.

Safety first, always.

The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. Read our full medical disclaimer.

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