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Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a movement disorder that causes the urge to move the arms and legs, often accompanied by an unpleasant sensation. Its incidence is about 5%.

Şevket Akpınar's demonstration in 1982 that patients with RLS responded positively to dopaminergic treatment both paved the way for studies investigating the role of the dopaminergic system and became a turning point in treatment.

There is an abnormal sensation (restlessness) in the legs, sometimes in the arms, and the urge to move. The urge to move occurs when sitting or lying down at rest. Complaints are more common at night and the patient relieves their legs partially or completely by stretching or walking. Since it can be confused with restless legs syndrome, muscle pain, varicose veins, leg edema, joint pain, and leg cramps should be considered.

RLS can be primary or secondary. Primary RLS cannot be attributed to a specific cause. It usually starts at an early age and when questioned, it is seen that other members of the family also have it. Secondary RLS may be associated with iron deficiency anemia, end-stage renal disease, pregnancy, polyneuropathy, or medications.

The most commonly used drugs in the treatment are dopamine agonists such as pramipexole, rotigotine, cabergoline, ropinirole, antiepileptics such as gabapentin, pregabalin, and ferrous sulfate together with vitamin C in patients with serum ferritin level ≤75 mcg/L. These dopamine agonists and antiepileptics are also effective in sleep disorders, psychiatric disorders, and improving quality of life. Antidepressants can be added according to the patient's condition. Restless legs syndrome takes years to treat.


- Dikmen PY. Erişkinlerde Huzursuz Bacaklar Sendromu Tedavisi: Amerikan Nöroloji Akademisi’nin Pratik Kılavuz Özeti (Restless Legs Syndrome Treatment in Adults: Summary of the American Academy of Neurology's Practical Guide). Journal of Turkish Sleep Medicine 2017;4:59-64

- Yılmaz NH, Çelik FND, Akbostancı MC. Huzursuz Bacak Sendromu Tedavisinde Kanıta Dayalı Tıp Uygulamaları (Evidence-Based Medicine Applications in the Treatment of Restless Legs Syndrome). PHHB Dergisi 2017;20(1-2):16-27