Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless Leg Syndrome

What is Restless legs syndrome (RLS)?

A condition that is characterized by an irresistible urge to move one's body to stop uncomfortable or odd sensations. It most commonly affects the legs, but can also affect the arms or torso, and even phantom limbs. Moving the affected body part modulates the sensations, providing temporary relief. RLS causes a sensation in the legs or arms that can most closely be compared to a burning, itching, or tickling sensation in the muscles.

What are the symptoms?

What is the prognosis?

RLS is generally a lifelong condition for which there is no cure. Symptoms may gradually worsen with age, though more slowly for those with the idiopathic form of RLS than for patients who also suffer from an associated medical condition. Nevertheless, current therapies can control the disorder, minimizing symptoms and increasing periods of restful sleep. In addition, some patients have remissions, periods in which symptoms decrease or disappear for days, weeks, or months, although symptoms usually eventually reappear. A diagnosis of RLS does not indicate the onset of another neurological disease.

Is there any treatment?

Treatment of restless legs syndrome involves identifying the cause of symptoms when possible. Pharmacotherapy involves dopamine agonists which are first line drugs for daily restless legs syndrome; gabapentin and opioids can be used for treatment of resistant cases. The dopamine agonists Requip and Mirapex are preferred over Sinemet since this has problems a rebound effect. Secondary RLS has the potential for cure if the precipitating medical conditions are managed effectively. In many instances the alleged secondary conditions might be the only conditions causing the RLS; these include iron deficiency, varicose veins, and thyroid problems.