Ropinirole for Restless Leg Syndrome

Ropinirole is a drug known mainly for Parkinson’s Disease where it helps patients control errant bodily movements. It is also used for bad cases of restless leg syndrome.

It’s classified as a dopamine agonist. Parkinson’s patients lose brain cells that produce dopamine, so the drug helps replace the loss of this brain chemical. The causes of RLS are not clear, but ropinirole seems to work.

Sold under the brand name Requip and as a generic, ropinirole is a poweful drug with some potentially bad side effects. These include postural hypotension (head rush), dizziness and daytime sleepiness. Rare effects include compulsive gambling.

Ropinirole works by stimulating the dopamine receptors in the brain that control a person’s ability to move his or her body. (Medline Plus Summary.)

The FDA approved six different dosing levels of the drug, which range from as much as 4 milligrams to 0.25 milligrams. Since the side effects are the same, these generic versions will share the same warnings as Requip. Dangers of the drug can include falling asleep while driving.