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Improving sleep for patients with restless legs syndrome. Part II: meta-analysis of vibration therapy and drugs approved by the FDA for treatment of restless legs syndrome

Authors Burbank F, Buchfuhrer M, Kopjar B, Segawa C

Received 15 November 2012

Accepted for publication 25 January 2013

Published 2 April 2013 Volume 2013:3 Pages 11—22


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Fred Burbank,1 Mark J Buchfuhrer,2 Branko Kopjar3

1Salt Creek International Women's Health Foundation, San Clemente, CA, 2Stanford University Center for Sleep Sciences, Downey, CA, 3Department of Health Services, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA

Background: Vibratory stimulation pads have been shown to improve sleep in patients with restless legs syndrome (RLS) to a greater extent than sham therapy. The current gold standard of treatment is drugs approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in RLS. The aim of this meta-analysis was to compare the efficacy and safety of vibratory stimulation pads, sham pads, and drugs approved by the FDA for use in RLS.
Methods: We searched the PubMed, Embase, and clinical trial websites to identify the relevant randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled or sham-controlled studies. Fifteen studies including a combined total of 3455 patients with at least moderately severe primary RLS met our search criteria. Efficacy was defined as the standardized mean difference in sleep improvement between treatment and controls. Safety was assessed by comparing the odds ratios of any adverse events and adverse events leading to study withdrawal between treatment and control subjects.
Results: Improvement in Medical Outcomes Study (MOS) sleep inventory scores from baseline was significantly greater in patients treated with vibratory stimulation pads than in those receiving sham pads (Hedges's g, standardized mean difference −0.39, P ≤ 0.02). There was no difference in improvement in sleep scores between patients treated with vibratory stimulation pads (−0.39) and those receiving an approved RLS drug (−0.44, P > 0.70). The risk of any adverse event or withdrawal because of an adverse event was not significantly different between patients treated with vibratory stimulation pads and those assigned to sham pads (Mantel-Haenszel odds ratio 2.16 [P > 0.14] and 1.39 [P > 0.80], respectively). The odds ratios for patients reporting any adverse events and adverse events leading to withdrawal were not significantly different between patients treated with vibratory stimulation pads (2.16 and 1.39, respectively) and those who received approved RLS drugs (2.11 [P > 0.89] and 2.07 [P > 0.82], respectively, mixed-effects model).
Conclusion: For patients with moderately severe RLS, vibratory stimulation pads were more effective than sham pads for improving sleep, as effective as FDA-approved RLS drugs, and as safe as both sham pads and FDA-approved RLS drugs.

Keywords: meta-analysis, restless legs syndrome, sleep, vibration, counterstimulation, drug therapy

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