Restless legs syndrome (RLS), widely recognized as a definite clinical entity, has an estimated prevalence of 1 to 15% in different ethnic populations. However, it remains an underdiagnosed condition and its symptoms are frequently ascribed to stress and anxiety. Advancement in modern imaging techniques and clinical drug trials provide evidence of an impaired dopaminergic system in RLS. Management involves investigating and correcting treatable secondary causes, avoidance of aggravating factors, and pharmacologic therapy. Recent controlled trials have demonstrated the effectiveness of dopamine agonists such as pramipexole and pergolide. Additional research is needed to further elucidate the pathophysiology of RLS, through obtaining post-mortem specimens and refinement of neuroimaging and neurophysiologic techniques. Isolation of specific genetic loci in familial cases would enable better characterization of distinct clinical and genetic subsets of RLS and result in better understanding of this disease at the molecular level.
- Restless legs syndrome
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