A review of current treatment strategies for restless legs syndrome (Willis-Ekbom disease)

Lisa Klingelhoefer, Ilaria Cova, Sheena Gupta, Kallol Ray Chaudhuri
Clinical Medicine: Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of London 2014, 14 (5): 520-4
Restless legs syndrome (RLS), recently renamed Willis-Ekbom disease (WED), is a common movement disorder. It is characterised by the need to move mainly the legs due to uncomfortable, sometimes painful sensations in the legs, which have a diurnal variation and a release with movement. Management is complex. First, centres should establish the severity of RLS using a simple 10-item RLS severity rating scale (IRLS). They should also exclude secondary causes, in particular ensuring normal iron levels. Mild cases can be managed by lifestyle changes, but patients with a IRLS score above 15 usually require pharmacological treatment. Dopaminergic therapies remain the mainstay of medical therapies, with recent evidence suggesting opioids may be particularly effective. This article focuses on the different treatment strategies in RLS, their associated complications and ways to manage them.

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