Can Xanax treat restless legs syndrome?(+7 treatment options

In this article, we will discuss the role of Xanax in managing restless legs syndrome. We will also discuss the other treatment options for managing the restless legs syndrome and its associated symptoms. 

Can Xanax treat restless legs syndrome?

Xanax does not treat restless legs syndrome, however, it is used to treat sleep disturbances and sleep-related symptoms of restless legs syndrome. Xanax helps manage insomnia and improve the quality of sleep in individuals with restless legs syndrome.

Xanax (alprazolam), is a benzodiazepine medication that works by enhancing the inhibitory activity of gamma amino butyric acid receptors. It is most commonly prescribed to manage and treat anxiety and its associated symptoms as well as for insomnia and sleep disturbances in individuals with sleep disorders (1). 

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a neurological disorder that causes uncontrollable leg movement. It is characterized by an irresistible urge to move your legs which is more pronounced in the night and causes sleep disturbances (2).

What does research suggest?

Research has shown that many medications prescribed for Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) are ineffective in relieving sleep disturbances associated with the condition. However, Xanax has been found to be effective in treating symptoms such as disrupted sleep patterns and insomnia in geriatric patients with RLS (3).

The restless legs syndrome can severely impact your quality of life by disrupting your sleep patterns. Research shows that this condition can make it difficult to induce and maintain sleep, leading to a reduced quality of sleep overall.  Benzodiazepines have successfully helped these individuals with restless legs syndrome to fall asleep and remain asleep, allowing them to experience a better quality of life (4).

What are the treatment options for restless legs syndrome?

No treatment can completely cure restless legs syndrome, however, different pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions can be used for symptomatic relief of restless legs syndrome. 

Pharmacological treatment

The pharmacological treatment of restless syndrome is usually recommended for people who have persistent symptoms of RLS. The following medications are prescribed for the management of RLS:

Dopamine analogs: These medications include, dopamine agonists and other dopaminergic agents such as Levodopa+carbidopa, ropinerol, pramipexol, and rotigotine, etc. These agents increase the dopaminergic activity in the brain which in turn controls leg sensations and reduces the symptoms of RLS (5). 

Opioid analgesics: Opioids are useful in the management of severe pain and, as pain and restless legs syndrome have the same mechanism in the central nervous system, opioids are also helpful in managing symptoms of RLS. Some healthcare providers may prescribe other analgesics for RLS such as Voltaren (diclofenac sodium) (6). 

Anti epileptics: Antiepileptic agents such as Levetiracetam, help improve the symptoms of restless legs syndrome in individuals who do not respond to the typical dopamine agonist therapy. These drugs are not only effective in reducing restless legs but also improve sleep patterns (7).

Benzodiazepines: Benzodiazepines such as alprazolam and clonazepam may help with the sleep disturbances associated with restless legs syndrome. They have sedative properties which are useful in alleviating insomnia in individuals with RLS (2,3).

It is important to note that, these medications are only useful in providing symptomatic relief in individuals with RLS. These medications do not completely eradicate RLS and its associated consequences. 

You should always consult your healthcare provider before starting any medication for underlying restless legs syndrome. Individuals’ responses to medications may vary based on various individual factors, so only take those medications that are prescribed by your healthcare professional. 

 Non-pharmacological treatment

Non-pharmacological treatment of restless legs syndrome may include:

Regular exercise and stress management: Stress may exacerbate the symptoms of restless legs syndrome. Mindfulness techniques, mild exercise, and meditation help manage stress as well as promote muscle relaxation which is helpful in improving the symptoms of restless legs syndrome.

Adequate sleep: Sleep disturbances are more common in individuals with restless legs syndrome and irregular sleep can worsen the condition of individuals with restless legs syndrome. Try to have adequate and regular sleep which is useful in preventing the exacerbations of RLS. 

Dietary supplements: According to research, a deficiency of dietary supplements such as vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin D, magnesium, and iron can worsen the restless legs syndrome, and taking these supplements is useful in improving the symptoms of RLS (8).


In conclusion, you can use Xanax if you are struggling to sleep while having restless legs syndrome because it is effective in managing insomnia and related sleep disturbances. However, I have never seen anyone recovering completely from restless legs syndrome. Your healthcare provider may prescribe you some medications for symptomatic relief from RLS which is necessary to improve the quality of life but these medications will not help you get rid of RLS completely.


Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!



George TT, Tripp J. Alprazolam. [Updated 2023 Apr 24]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from:


Ekbom K, Ulfberg J. Restless legs syndrome. J Intern Med. 2009 Nov;266(5):419-31. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2796.2009.02159.x. PMID: 19817966.


Scharf MB, Brown L, Hirschowitz J. Possible efficacy of alprazolam in restless leg syndrome. Hillside J Clin Psychiatry. 1986;8(2):214-23. PMID: 3557297.


Carlos K, Prado GF, Teixeira CD, Conti C, de Oliveira MM, Prado LB, Carvalho LB. Benzodiazepines for restless legs syndrome. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2017 Mar 20;3(3):CD006939. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD006939.pub2. PMID: 28319266; PMCID: PMC6464545.


Scholz H, Trenkwalder C, Kohnen R, Riemann D, Kriston L, Hornyak M. Dopamine agonists for restless legs syndrome. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Mar 16;2011(3):CD006009. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD006009.pub2. PMID: 21412893; PMCID: PMC8908466.


de Oliveira CO, Carvalho LB, Carlos K, Conti C, de Oliveira MM, Prado LB, Prado GF. Opioids for restless legs syndrome. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016 Jun 29;2016(6):CD006941. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD006941.pub2. PMID: 27355187; PMCID: PMC6885031.


Della Marca G, Vollono C, Mariotti P, Mazza M, Mennuni GF, Tonali P, Mazza S. Levetiracetam can be effective in the treatment of restless legs syndrome with periodic limb movements in sleep: report of two cases. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2006 Apr;77(4):566-7. doi: 10.1136/jnnp.2005.075671. PMID: 16543548; PMCID: PMC2077523.


Jadidi A, Rezaei Ashtiani A, Khanmohamadi Hezaveh A, Aghaepour SM. Therapeutic effects of magnesium and vitamin B6 in alleviating the symptoms of restless legs syndrome: a randomized controlled clinical trial. BMC Complement Med Ther. 2022 Dec 31;23(1):1. doi: 10.1186/s12906-022-03814-8. PMID: 36587225; PMCID: PMC9804944.