Diagnosis and symptom rating scale of restless legs syndrome

Japan Somnology Center, Neuropsychiatric Research Institute, 1-17-7-301 Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 151-0053, Japan.
Brain and nerve = Shinkei kenkyū no shinpo 06/2009; 61(5):533-8.
Source: PubMed


Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a sensorimotor disorder, characterized by an irresistible urge to move the legs and usually accompanied or caused by uncomfortable and unpleasant sensations. It begins or worsens during periods of rest or inactivity, is partially or totally relieved by movement and is exacerbated or occurs mainly in the evening or night. People suffering from RLS are estimated to represent 2-3% of the general Japanese population, which is relatively lower than the estimated prevalence in western countries. Supportive diagnostic critevia include family history, the presence of periodic-leg movements (PLM) when awake or asleep, and a positive response to dopaminergic treatment. RLS phenotypes include an early onset form that is usually idiopathic with frequent familial history and a late onset form that is usually secondary to other somatic conditions that are causative factors in RLS occurrence. In all patients presenting with complaints of insomnia or discomfort in the lower limbs, diagnosis of RLS should be considered. RLS should be differentiated from akathisia, which is an urge to move the whole body in the absence of uncomfortable sensations. Polysomnographic studies and the suggested immobilization test (SIT) can detect PLM in patients that are asleep or awake. RLS may cause severe sleep disturbances, poor quality of life, depressive and anxious symptoms, and may be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Secondary RLS may occur due to iron deficiency, end-stage renal disease, pregnancy, peripheral neuropathy and drug use including antipsychotics and antidepressants. Small fiber neuropathy can trigger RLS or mimic its symptoms. RLS is associated with many neurological disorders, including Parkinson disease and multiple system atrophy; althoughit does not predispose to these diseases. A symptom rating scale for RLS authorized by the International RLS Study Group (IRLS) would facilitate accurate diagnosis of this condition.

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    • "In the present study, total HAD scores were not different between solvent exposed and nonexposed group. In the literature, a populationbased survey demonstrates significantly higher anxiety and depression symptoms in RLS patients compared with contemporaneous control subjects, and a correlation of the intensity of these symptoms with the severity of RLS [23]. Other studies also indicated association between psychological indices and RLS symptoms [24]. "

    Full-text · Article · Jan 2016
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    ABSTRACT: Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a common sensory motor neurological disorder that is characterised by an irresistible urge to move the legs that significantly affects the quality of life of the patient. Prevalence in the general population is 5-25% and it is twice as prevalent in women as in men. RLS is the most common movement disorder in pregnancy with a fourfold increased risk of developing this disorder later in life. The pathophysiology of RLS is centred on dopaminergic dysfunction, reduced central nervous system iron, genetic linkages, or alteration in neurotransmitters such as hypocretins, endorphins levels and immune dysfunction and inflammatory mechanisms. With the emergence of new evidence, there are changes to the previous treatment recommendations for RLS. There is sufficient evidence to conclude that dopamine agonists such as rotigotine transdermal patch, pramipexole, ropinirole, gabapentin enacarbil, pregabalin and gabapentin are effective in the short-term treatment of RLS and rotigotine, followed by gabapentin enacarbil, ropinirole, pramipexole and gabapentin for long-term treatment. Based on expert consensus, the recommendation for daily RLS is dopamine agonists or gabapentin or low-potency opioids. Levodopa is less preferred for treating daily RLS due to its high risk of augmentation. For intermittent RLS, it is levodopa or dopamine agonists or low-potency opioids or benzodiazepines. For refractory RLS, the choice is to change to gabapentin or a different dopamine agonist, addition of a second agent like gabapentin or benzodiazepine to the existing drug or changing to a high-potency opioid or tramadol. Medications with safety record in pregnancy include opioids and antiepileptics such as carbamazepine and gabapentin. There are concerns that patients with RLS are at risk for metabolic deregulation, autonomic dysfunction and cardiovascular morbidity. However, a recent study concluded that RLS is not associated with increased risk of cardiovascular complications.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2013 · Postgraduate medical journal
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    ABSTRACT: Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a common disorder described as an urge to move the legs. Dopamine, the main neuro-transmitter in the pathophysiology of RLS, is likely related to the development of brain laterality and human handedness. We aimed to compare the prevalence of RLS in right and non-right handers. A checklist including Edinburgh questioner for handedness, questions for RLS diagnosis and basic characteristics was filled out by a sample of population. The exclusion criteria included prolonged use of dopaminergic or psychologic drugs and having diseases with similar symptoms to RLS. The frequency of non-right handers in RLS patients was compared with the controls by Chi square test. P value less than 0.05 was considered significant. 164 persons were divided into RLS patients (69) and non-RLS controls (95). There was no significant difference between demographic characteristics. The prevalence of non-right handers in RLS patients was significantly more than non-RLS controls (P: 0.03). Our finding regarding the higher prevalence of non-right handers in RLS patients needs more justifications based on neuroscientists' guides. RLS as a disease in which dopaminergic system involves is highly assumed to be linked with handedness. This is just a hypothesis that impaired modulation of immune system in left handers may be accompanied with lower dopamine levels in RLS.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2014 · Neurological Sciences