In the past 10 years, restless legs syndrome (RLS) has gained recognition as a common sleep disorder. There are several therapeutic options in treating patients with RLS. RLS causes significant sleep distrubance and negatively impacts on patient quality of life. Pharmacologic treatment can result in improved sleep and quality of life issues. RLS patients should be evaluated for iron deficiency anemia; iron replacement in defecient patients may lead to a resolution of symptoms or may reduce the severity of their symptoms. For patients with daily symptoms, the initial therapy is dopamine agonists. Low doses given in the evening or 2 hours before bed provide adequate relief of symptoms for many RLS patients. Augmentation can be seen with all dopamine agents, but is most prevalent with levodopa. Levodopa therapy is best used for milder intermittent symptoms or in aggravating situations, such as long car rides. Opiates and antiepileptics remain a beneficial therapy for RLS and are useful in patients who experience pain as part of their RLS. Newer anticonvulsants may provide additional treatment options, but they have yet to undergo clinical trials. Intravenous iron also may provide relief of RLS symptoms; however, dosing and safety issues have not been fully evaluated in a RLS population.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology