The FDA has approved the first generic versions of Requip (ropinirole hydrochloride) tablets for the treatment of moderate to severe Restless Legs Syndrome. Ropinirole hydrochloride tablets have been approved in the following dosages: 0.25 milligram, 0.5 milligram, 1 milligram, 2 milligram, 3 milligram, and 4 milligram. “This generic drug approval is an example of the FDA’s efforts to increase access to safe and effective generic drugs as soon as the law permits,” said Gary J. Buehler, director of the FDA’s Office of Generic Drugs. The following companies have received approval to market ropinirole hydrochloride tablets: Roxane Laboratories Inc., Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Par Pharmaceuticals Inc., and Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc. The labeling of the generic versions of ropinirole hydrochloride may differ from that of Requip because some uses of the drug are protected by patents. In addition to treating Restless Legs Syndrome, Requip is also FDA-approved to treat symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. The generic products are not approved for treatment of Parkinson’s disease because this indication is protected by patent. Manufacturers of the generic drugs may seek approval for that use once the patent for the Parkinson’s disease indication expires later this month. The generic ropinirole hydrochloride tablets will have the same safety warnings as Requip, cautioning about patient reports of falling asleep while engaged in activities of daily living, including while driving. Although many of these patients reported sleepiness while on the drug, some patients perceived that they had no warning signs and believed that they were alert immediately prior to falling asleep. Some of these events have been reported as late as one year after the start of treatment.