What Is Pramipexole Used For?
Pramipexole is a type of dopamine agonist commonly used for treating restless legs syndrome (RLS) and Parkinson's disease. On occasion, healthcare providers may prescribe pramipexole for other uses. "Off-label" pramipexole uses include treating secondary RLS, fibromyalgia, and tremors not caused by Parkinson's disease. The prescription medication works by increasing a chemical in the brain called dopamine.
Pramipexole dihydrochloride (Mirapex®) is a prescription medication used to treat Parkinson's disease and restless legs syndrome (RLS). It belongs to a group of medications known as dopamine agonists.
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a neurological disorder characterized by unpleasant sensations in the legs and an almost uncontrollable urge to move when at rest in an effort to relieve these feelings. In some people, the cause of RLS is known; these cases are known as secondary RLS, because the RLS is secondary to another condition, such as pregnancy, anemia, or Parkinson's disease. However, for many people, the restless legs syndrome causes cannot be identified; these cases are known as primary RLS (see Types of Restless Legs Syndrome for more information).
Common symptoms of restless legs syndrome include:
- Unpleasant sensations in the legs, often described as creeping, crawling, tingling, pulling, or painful
- An irresistible urge to move the legs
- Leg discomfort that gets worse when lying down or sitting for long periods of time
- The need for constant movement of the legs or other affected body parts to lessen discomfort
- Uncontrollable leg (and sometimes arm) movements during sleep
- Daytime sleepiness.
Although there is no cure for restless legs syndrome, some forms of treatment may help lessen RLS symptoms. For secondary RLS, which has an identifiable cause, treatment may focus on the underlying cause. For primary RLS, which has no identifiable cause, medication for restless legs syndrome may be necessary. Pramipexole is approved to help treat moderate to severe primary RLS.