JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Intractable restless legs syndrome: role of prolonged-release oxycodone-naloxone

Stefano de Biase, Mariarosaria Valente, Gian Luigi Gigli
Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment 2016, 12: 417-25
26966363
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a common neurological disorder characterized by an irresistible urge to move the legs accompanied by uncomfortable sensations that occur at night or at time of rest. Pharmacological therapy should be limited to patients who suffer from clinically relevant symptoms. Chronic RLS is usually treated with either a dopamine agonist (pramipexole, ropinirole, rotigotine) or an α2δ calcium-channel ligand (gabapentin, gabapentin enacarbil, pregabalin). Augmentation is the main complication of long-term dopaminergic treatment, and frequently requires a reduction of current dopaminergic dose or a switch to non-dopaminergic medications. Opioids as monotherapy or add-on treatment should be considered when alternative satisfactory regimens are unavailable and the severity of symptoms warrants it. In a recent Phase III trial, oxycodone-naloxone prolonged release (PR) demonstrated a significant and sustained effect on patients with severe RLS inadequately controlled by previous treatments. The adverse-event profile was consistent with the safety profile of opioids. The most frequent adverse events were fatigue, constipation, nausea, headache, hyperhidrosis, somnolence, dry mouth, and pruritus. Adverse events were usually mild or moderate in intensity. No cases of augmentation were reported. Oxycodone-naloxone PR is approved for the second-line symptomatic treatment of adults with severe to very severe idiopathic RLS after failure of dopaminergic treatment. Further studies are needed to evaluate if oxycodone-naloxone PR is equally efficacious as a first-line treatment. Moreover, long-term comparative studies between opioids, dopaminergic drugs and α2δ ligands are needed.

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