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Clin Geriatr Med. 2008 Feb;24(1):167-80, ix.

Restless legs syndrome in older adults.

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  • 1Sleep Disorders Center, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Hospital Freiburg, Hauptstrasse 5, D-79104 Freiburg, Germany.


Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a common neurological disorder characterized by an urge to move the legs. The symptoms show a strong circadian rhythmicity, with onset or increase in the evening or at night; thus, sleep disturbances are the most frequent reason for patients seeking medical aid. The prevalence of the disorder increases strongly with age, with an estimated 9% to 20% of sufferers being among the elderly. Dopaminergic drugs are the first-line treatment option in RLS; opioids and anticonvulsants can also be used either as add-on or stand alone therapy options. Secondary forms of RLS and possible interaction with other medications require particular consideration in the elderly.

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