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Ren Fail. 2004 Jul;26(4):393-7.

Gabapentin versus levodopa for the treatment of Restless Legs Syndrome in hemodialysis patients: an open-label study.

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Department of Nephrology, Baskent University School of Medicine, Ankara, Turkey.



Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS), a common problem increasing morbidity and mortality in hemodialysis (HD) patients, affects 20-30% of uremic patients. Our aim was to find the efficacy of gabapentin in the treatment of RLS in HD patients by comparing a largely used drug, levodopa.


Patients with RLS answered three questionnaires (RLS rating scale proposed by IRLSSG, the Short Form (SF)-36 and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index) for the evaluation of severity of RLS, effects on quality of life and quality of sleep.


Fifteen patients (4.7%) (5 F, 10 M) with a mean age of 45.8+/-15.3 years got RLS diagnosis. When we compare the two drugs for severity of RLS symptoms relief, the effect of gabapentin was more significant (p<0.001). Gabapentin significantly improved general health, body pain and social functions (p<0.001). Moreover, regarding sleep parameters, gabapentin was significantly superior to levodopa for sleep quality, sleep latency (p<0.001) and sleep disturbance (p<0.000).


To our knowledge this was the first study comparing gabapentin and levodopa efficacy for the treatment of RLS in HD patients. Our results suggested that gabapentin is an effective drug for the management of RLS in hemodialysis patients.

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