Strategies for the Treatment of Restless Legs Syndrome NEUROTHERAPEUTICS Buchfuhrer, M. J. 2012; 9 (4): 776-790


Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a common neurological disorder of unknown etiology that is managed by therapy directed at relieving its symptoms. Treatment of patients with milder symptoms that occur intermittently may be treated with nonpharmacological therapy but when not successful, drug therapy should be chosen based on the timing of the symptoms and the needs of the patient. Patients with moderate to severe RLS typically require daily medication to control their symptoms. Although the dopamine agonists, ropinirole and pramipexole have been the drugs of choice for patients with moderate to severe RLS, drug emergent problems like augmentation may limit their use for long term therapy. Keeping the dopamine agonist dose as low as possible, using longer acting dopamine agonists such as the rotigotine patch and maintaining a high serum ferritin level may help prevent the development of augmentation. The a2d anticonvulsants may now also be considered as drugs of choice for moderate to severe RLS patients. Opioids should be considered for RLS patients, especially for those who have failed other therapies since they are very effective for severe cases. When monitored appropriately, they can be very safe and durable for long term therapy. They should also be strongly considered for treating patients with augmentation as they are very effective for relieving the worsening symptoms that occur when decreasing or eliminating dopamine agonists.

View details for DOI 10.1007/s13311-012-0139-4

View details for Web of Science ID 000310325000009

View details for PubMedID 22923001

View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3480566