How is periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD) treated?

First, certain products and medications should be avoided. Caffeine often intensifies PLMD symptoms. Caffeine-containing products such as chocolate, coffee, tea, and soft drinks should be avoided. Also, many antidepressants can cause a worsening of PLMD in many patients and should be reviewed, discussed and replaced by your doctor.

Generally, there are several classes of drugs that are used to treat PLMD. These include dopamine agonist, anticonvulsant medications, benzodiazepines, and narcotics. Current treatment recommendations consider the dopamine agonist as a first line of defense. Medical treatment of PLMD often significantly reduces or eliminates the symptoms of these disorders. There is no cure for PLMD and medical treatment must be continued to provide relief.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/21/2012.


  • American Sleep Association. Periodic Leg Movements During Sleep: PLMS/PLMD. Accessed 11/13/2012.

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