A method to switch from oral dopamine agonists to rotigotine in patients with restless legs syndrome and mild augmentation

John W Winkelman, Susan E Mackie, Leslie A Mei, Samuel Platt, Laura Schoerning
Sleep Medicine 2016, 24: 18-23

BACKGROUND: We examined the short- and long-term efficacy and tolerability of a cross-titration algorithm from oral dopamine agonists to the rotigotine transdermal patch in patients dissatisfied with their restless legs syndrome (RLS) treatment, predominantly with mild augmentation.

METHODS: Patients with RLS (n = 20) were recruited at a single site. The cross-titration consisted of decreasing oral dopaminergic agents (ropinirole by 1 mg or pramipexole by 0.25 mg) and increasing rotigotine by 1 mg every two days. Efficacy and adverse events (AEs) were assessed at one, three, six and 12 months after the switch.

RESULTS: Patients had moderate-severe RLS symptoms at the baseline (mean international restless legs syndrome (IRLS) score 19.4 ± 5.5); 85% had augmentation and 45% reported afternoon RLS symptoms. The baseline mean pramipexole equivalent dose was 0.6 ± 0.3 mg. At Week 5, 85% (17/20) had successfully switched from their oral dopamine agonist to rotigotine (mean dose 2.5 ± 0.6 mg; change in IRLS score: -6.7 ± 8.4, p = 0.002); 14 patients were CGI-I responders (much or very much improved). Three patients withdrew due to lack of efficacy. Twelve months after cross-titration, 10 patients continued on rotigotine, of whom four required either higher doses of rotigotine or supplemental RLS medication compared with their optimal Week 5 dose; five patients withdrew due to AEs and two due to lack of efficacy.

CONCLUSION: A cross-titration to rotigotine was efficacious after five weeks in 70% of patients dissatisfied with RLS treatment, most of whom had mild augmentation. At one year following the medication switch, 50% had discontinued rotigotine due to lack of continued efficacy or side effects.

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