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Nat Rev Neurol. 2010 Jun;6(6):337-46. doi: 10.1038/nrneurol.2010.55.

Restless legs syndrome: pathophysiology, clinical presentation and management.

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  • 1Paracelsus-Elena Hospital, Center of Parkinsonism and Movement Disorders, Klinikstrasse 16, 34128 Kassel, Germany. trenkwalder@pk-mx.de

Abstract

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a somatosensory network disorder that is clinically diagnosed according to four main criteria: an urge to move the legs, usually associated with unpleasant leg sensations; induction or exacerbation of symptoms by rest; symptom relief on activity; and diurnal fluctuations in symptoms with worsening in the evening and at night. Genetic variants in four chromosomal regions have been identified that increase the risk of RLS. In addition, various different lesions, ranging from peripheral neuropathies to spinal cord lesions or alterations of brain metabolism, are implicated in RLS. In most cases, sleep disorders with frequent sleep fragmentation and characteristic periodic limb movements during sleep can be identified during a polysomnographic recording. The first-line drugs for RLS are dopaminergic agents, which are effective in low to moderate doses. Alternative or additional treatments include opioids and anticonvulsants. Augmentation-paradoxical worsening of symptoms by dopaminergic treatment-is the main problem encountered in difficult-to-treat patients. Iron deficiency must be identified and treated by supplementation, both to improve RLS symptoms and to potentially lower the risk of augmentation. Here, we review the latest studies pertaining to the pathophysiology, clinical presentation and management of RLS.

PMID:
20531433
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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