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Restless legs syndrome

Authors Ovallath S, Deepa P

Received 28 August 2012

Accepted for publication 28 August 2012

Published 17 October 2012 Volume 2012:2 Pages 49—57

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/JPRLS.S37451


Sujith Ovallath, P Deepa

James Parkinson's Movement Disorder Research Centre, Kannur Medical College, Kerala, India

Background: Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a common sleep-related disorder characterized by abnormal sensation and an urge to move the lower limbs. Symptoms occur at rest in the evening or at night, and they are alleviated by moving the affected extremity or by walking. Although the exact etiopathogenesis of RLS remains elusive, the rapid improvement of symptoms with dopaminergic agents suggests that dopaminergic system dysfunction may be a basic mechanism. Dopaminergic agents are the best-studied agents, and are considered first-line treatment of RLS.
Objective: To review the diagnostic criteria, clinical features, etiopathogenesis, and the treatment options of RLS.
Methods: The suggestions are based on evidence from studies published in peer-reviewed journals, or upon a comprehensive review of the medical literature.
Results/conclusion: Extensive data are available for proving the link between the dopaminergic system and RLS. A possible genetic link also has been studied extensively. Dopamine agonists, especially pramipexole and ropinirole, are particularly useful in the treatment of RLS. Pharmacological treatment should however be limited to those patients who suffer from clinically relevant RLS with impaired sleep quality or quality of life.

Keywords: dopamine, levodopa, pramipexole

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