Horizant vs Gabapentin – Which Is More Effective for RLS (Restless Legs Syndrome)?

Restless legs syndrome (RLS), also referred to as Willis-Ekbom disease, is a disorder of the part of the nervous system which causes an urge to move the legs. These unpleasant urges can range from mild to unbearable and are typically worse during the night and in the evening.

The urge to move the legs is totally or partially relieved by movement, like – stretching or walking, at least as long as the physical activity continues. Less commonly, it affects the arms.

Symptoms commonly occur in the evening hours and are frequently most severe at night when the sufferer is resting, like lying in bed. Milder cases do not disturb the sleep of the patient as much, however, the sleep may have a poorer quality. Many individuals with severe cases get less than 5 hours of sleep a night. This may lead to a slow immune function.

Other disorders which may mimic RLS include – fibromyalgia, poor circulation to the lower extremities, and neuropathy.


Many medicines may trigger this condition, like – antipsychotics, antidepressants, calcium channel blockers, and antihistamines. Restless legs syndrome can occur or get worse during pregnancy. However, these symptoms usually peak during the 7th or 8th month of pregnancy and disappear entirely by the time the pregnant woman delivers the baby.

Moreover, this condition is more frequent in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus, rheumatoid arthritis, or iron-anemia. Nevertheless, it can appear in people without those conditions too.

The use of alcoholic beverages, caffeine, and smoking cigarettes can aggravate restless legs syndrome symptoms. Limiting these legal drugs may considerably help reduce the symptoms.

Although there is no cure for RLS, some types of treatment may help lessen the signs and symptoms.


This medication is taken to relieve nerve pain after shingles (a painful rash which is caused by the virus that also causes chickenpox – varicella-zoster virus). Also, this medicine has been shown to be effective to relieve symptoms associated with restless legs syndrome, including – sleep disturbance, discomfort, impact on daily activities, and daytime drowsiness.


The recommended dosage for RLS is 600 mg once per day at about 5 PM.

Side Effects And Precautions

It may cause severe allergic reactions which may affect the skin or other parts of the body, like – blood cells or liver.

A small number of sufferers who use anticonvulsants for any disorder (like – bipolar disorder, seizure, or pain) may experience suicidal thoughts/attempts, depression, or other mental problems.

This medicine comes under the “C” category that actually means that the relevant trials have not taken place or the clinical studies reveal detrimental effects to the unborn baby.

Do not use machinery, drive, or do anything which requires mental alertness until you know exactly how this drug affects you. People who need to remain awake at night and sleep during the daytime are not advised to take this medicine.

Other frequent adverse effects of using this medicine, include – increased appetite, vertigo (a spinning sensation), gas, feeling “drunk,” blurred vision, dry mouth, insomnia, and weight gain. These occur in up to 3% of users. Alcoholic beverages should not be consumed when taking this medicine since it may interfere with the effects of this drug.


It is a prescription drug which is known as an antiepileptic or anticonvulsant drug. It is available with the brand-name of Neurontin. In 1993, the FDA approved it for the drug manufacturer Pfizer, an American pharmaceutical corporation with the headquarter in New York City, USA.

This medicine affects the nerves and chemicals in the human body which are involved in the cause of some types of pain and seizures. Using this product can reduce seizures, pain, or RLS. In addition, it is beneficial for adults who have nerve pain caused by shingles (herpes zoster) or herpes virus.

This drug structurally resembles the neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). Neurotransmitters are drugs which the nerves use to communicate with one another. Gamma-aminobutyric acid acts as a natural nerve-calming agent as well as it helps to keep the nerve activity in the brain function properly.

More importantly, this medicine increases the activity of the enzyme GAD (glutamate decarboxylase), which transforms the neurotransmitter glutamate into gamma-aminobutyric acid.


A usual adult dose for RLS is 600 mg orally once per day with food at about 5 PM.

Side effects

Frequently reported side effects of this medication may include – irritability, dizziness, ataxia, amblyopia, xerostomia, fatigue, tremor, drowsiness, peripheral edema, nystagmus, fever, diplopia, viral infection, blurred vision, and sedation.

It is not known precisely if this drug will harm an unborn baby. Thus, tell your healthcare professional if you plan to become pregnant or are pregnant. Also, avoid it if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Since this drug may slow your thinking, can make you dizzy or drowsy, and may cause loss of coordination, it is not recommended to operate machinery or drive a car until you know precisely how this product affects you.

Horizant vs Gabapentin – Which Is Better For RLS?     

Due to the improved bioavailability and pharmacokinetics, Horizant is more effective for reducing the symptoms of restless legs syndrome than Gabapentin.

Images credit – Shutterstock

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3 thoughts on “Horizant vs Gabapentin – Which Is More Effective for RLS (Restless Legs Syndrome)?”

  1. Retail price was $915. CVS sold me 60 300mgm tabs for $824.

    So far, 2 weeks (samples) trial has not produced improvement sufficient to justify the cost. Will now continue for a month but I suspect I will discontinue once I use up the supply. Not worth $26/day.

    • Pertaining to a post Sept 19, 2919… what did you determine about the medication Horizant for restless legs? Did it help, or not?


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