Restless Legs Syndrome Information Page

Restless Legs Syndrome Information Page


What research is being done?

Research supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) is investigating the relationship between genetics and RLS, as well as research to better understand what causes the disease. NINDS-funded researchers are using advanced magnetic resonance imaging to measure brain chemical changes in individuals with RLS to evaluate their relation to thr disorder's symptoms in hopes of developing new research models and ways to correct the overactive arousal process. 

Information from the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus
Restless Legs

×
What research is being done?

Research supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) is investigating the relationship between genetics and RLS, as well as research to better understand what causes the disease. NINDS-funded researchers are using advanced magnetic resonance imaging to measure brain chemical changes in individuals with RLS to evaluate their relation to thr disorder's symptoms in hopes of developing new research models and ways to correct the overactive arousal process. 

Information from the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus
Restless Legs

Research supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) is investigating the relationship between genetics and RLS, as well as research to better understand what causes the disease. NINDS-funded researchers are using advanced magnetic resonance imaging to measure brain chemical changes in individuals with RLS to evaluate their relation to thr disorder's symptoms in hopes of developing new research models and ways to correct the overactive arousal process. 

Information from the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus
Restless Legs

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Definition
Definition
Treatment
Treatment
Prognosis
Prognosis
Clinical Trials
Clinical Trials
Organizations
Organizations
Publications
Publications
Definition
Definition

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is characterized by unpleasant sensations in the legs and an irresistible urge to move them. Individuals affected with the disorder often describe the sensations as throbbing, polling, or creeping. The sensations range in severity from uncomfortable to irritating to painful. Symptoms commonly occur in late afternoon or evening and are most severe at night, when the person is resting. Moving the legs or walking typically relieves the discomfort but the symptoms often recur. RLS is both a sleep and a neurological sensory disorder.

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Definition

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is characterized by unpleasant sensations in the legs and an irresistible urge to move them. Individuals affected with the disorder often describe the sensations as throbbing, polling, or creeping. The sensations range in severity from uncomfortable to irritating to painful. Symptoms commonly occur in late afternoon or evening and are most severe at night, when the person is resting. Moving the legs or walking typically relieves the discomfort but the symptoms often recur. RLS is both a sleep and a neurological sensory disorder.

Treatment
Treatment

Treatment is directed toward symptom relief. For those with mild to moderate symptoms, many physicians suggest certain lifestyle changes and activities to reduce or eliminate symptoms. Decreased use of caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco may provide some relief. A trial of iron supplements is recommended for individuals with low or low-normal blood tests. Exercise may also provide relief from mild symptoms.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved gabapentin encarbil, an antiseizure treatment, for moderate to severe RLS. Drugs that increase the effect of dopamine (called dopaminergic agents) also have been approved to reduce symptoms of RLS. Certain opioid and benzodiazepine drugs may help individuals obtain a more restful sleep but their use must be monitored by a physician.  The FDA also has approved medical devices to treat RLS, including a foot wrap that puts pressure underneath the foot and a pad that delivers vibration to the back of the legs. 

Physicians may suggest that certain individuals take supplements to correct deficiencies in iron, folate, and magnesium. Taking a hot bath, massaging the legs, or using a heating pad or ice pack can help relieve symptoms in some patients.

Physicians also may suggest a variety of medications to treat RLS, including dopaminergics, benzodiazepines (central nervous system depressants), opioids, and anticonvulsants. The drugs ropinirole, pramipexole, gabapentin enacarbil, and rotigotine have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treating  moderate to severe RLS. The Relaxis pad, which the person can place at the site of discomfort when in bed and provides 30 minutes of vibrations (counterstimulation) that ramp off after 30 minutes, also has been approved by the FDA.

×
Treatment

Treatment is directed toward symptom relief. For those with mild to moderate symptoms, many physicians suggest certain lifestyle changes and activities to reduce or eliminate symptoms. Decreased use of caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco may provide some relief. A trial of iron supplements is recommended for individuals with low or low-normal blood tests. Exercise may also provide relief from mild symptoms.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved gabapentin encarbil, an antiseizure treatment, for moderate to severe RLS. Drugs that increase the effect of dopamine (called dopaminergic agents) also have been approved to reduce symptoms of RLS. Certain opioid and benzodiazepine drugs may help individuals obtain a more restful sleep but their use must be monitored by a physician.  The FDA also has approved medical devices to treat RLS, including a foot wrap that puts pressure underneath the foot and a pad that delivers vibration to the back of the legs. 

Physicians may suggest that certain individuals take supplements to correct deficiencies in iron, folate, and magnesium. Taking a hot bath, massaging the legs, or using a heating pad or ice pack can help relieve symptoms in some patients.

Physicians also may suggest a variety of medications to treat RLS, including dopaminergics, benzodiazepines (central nervous system depressants), opioids, and anticonvulsants. The drugs ropinirole, pramipexole, gabapentin enacarbil, and rotigotine have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treating  moderate to severe RLS. The Relaxis pad, which the person can place at the site of discomfort when in bed and provides 30 minutes of vibrations (counterstimulation) that ramp off after 30 minutes, also has been approved by the FDA.

Definition
Definition

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is characterized by unpleasant sensations in the legs and an irresistible urge to move them. Individuals affected with the disorder often describe the sensations as throbbing, polling, or creeping. The sensations range in severity from uncomfortable to irritating to painful. Symptoms commonly occur in late afternoon or evening and are most severe at night, when the person is resting. Moving the legs or walking typically relieves the discomfort but the symptoms often recur. RLS is both a sleep and a neurological sensory disorder.

Treatment
Treatment

Treatment is directed toward symptom relief. For those with mild to moderate symptoms, many physicians suggest certain lifestyle changes and activities to reduce or eliminate symptoms. Decreased use of caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco may provide some relief. A trial of iron supplements is recommended for individuals with low or low-normal blood tests. Exercise may also provide relief from mild symptoms.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved gabapentin encarbil, an antiseizure treatment, for moderate to severe RLS. Drugs that increase the effect of dopamine (called dopaminergic agents) also have been approved to reduce symptoms of RLS. Certain opioid and benzodiazepine drugs may help individuals obtain a more restful sleep but their use must be monitored by a physician.  The FDA also has approved medical devices to treat RLS, including a foot wrap that puts pressure underneath the foot and a pad that delivers vibration to the back of the legs. 

Physicians may suggest that certain individuals take supplements to correct deficiencies in iron, folate, and magnesium. Taking a hot bath, massaging the legs, or using a heating pad or ice pack can help relieve symptoms in some patients.

Physicians also may suggest a variety of medications to treat RLS, including dopaminergics, benzodiazepines (central nervous system depressants), opioids, and anticonvulsants. The drugs ropinirole, pramipexole, gabapentin enacarbil, and rotigotine have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treating  moderate to severe RLS. The Relaxis pad, which the person can place at the site of discomfort when in bed and provides 30 minutes of vibrations (counterstimulation) that ramp off after 30 minutes, also has been approved by the FDA.

Prognosis
Prognosis

RLS is generally a life-long condition for which there is no cure. Symptoms may gradually worsen with age. Some individuals have remissions, periods in which symptoms decrease or disappear for days, weeks, or months, although symptoms usually eventually reappear. If RLS symptoms are mild, do not produces significant daytime discomfort, or do not affect an individual's ability to fall asleep, the condition may not have to be treated.

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RLS is generally a life-long condition for which there is no cure. Symptoms may gradually worsen with age. Some individuals have remissions, periods in which symptoms decrease or disappear for days, weeks, or months, although symptoms usually eventually reappear. If RLS symptoms are mild, do not produces significant daytime discomfort, or do not affect an individual's ability to fall asleep, the condition may not have to be treated.

Prognosis
Prognosis

RLS is generally a life-long condition for which there is no cure. Symptoms may gradually worsen with age. Some individuals have remissions, periods in which symptoms decrease or disappear for days, weeks, or months, although symptoms usually eventually reappear. If RLS symptoms are mild, do not produces significant daytime discomfort, or do not affect an individual's ability to fall asleep, the condition may not have to be treated.

Definition

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is characterized by unpleasant sensations in the legs and an irresistible urge to move them. Individuals affected with the disorder often describe the sensations as throbbing, polling, or creeping. The sensations range in severity from uncomfortable to irritating to painful. Symptoms commonly occur in late afternoon or evening and are most severe at night, when the person is resting. Moving the legs or walking typically relieves the discomfort but the symptoms often recur. RLS is both a sleep and a neurological sensory disorder.

Treatment

Treatment is directed toward symptom relief. For those with mild to moderate symptoms, many physicians suggest certain lifestyle changes and activities to reduce or eliminate symptoms. Decreased use of caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco may provide some relief. A trial of iron supplements is recommended for individuals with low or low-normal blood tests. Exercise may also provide relief from mild symptoms.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved gabapentin encarbil, an antiseizure treatment, for moderate to severe RLS. Drugs that increase the effect of dopamine (called dopaminergic agents) also have been approved to reduce symptoms of RLS. Certain opioid and benzodiazepine drugs may help individuals obtain a more restful sleep but their use must be monitored by a physician.  The FDA also has approved medical devices to treat RLS, including a foot wrap that puts pressure underneath the foot and a pad that delivers vibration to the back of the legs. 

Physicians may suggest that certain individuals take supplements to correct deficiencies in iron, folate, and magnesium. Taking a hot bath, massaging the legs, or using a heating pad or ice pack can help relieve symptoms in some patients.

Physicians also may suggest a variety of medications to treat RLS, including dopaminergics, benzodiazepines (central nervous system depressants), opioids, and anticonvulsants. The drugs ropinirole, pramipexole, gabapentin enacarbil, and rotigotine have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treating  moderate to severe RLS. The Relaxis pad, which the person can place at the site of discomfort when in bed and provides 30 minutes of vibrations (counterstimulation) that ramp off after 30 minutes, also has been approved by the FDA.

Prognosis

RLS is generally a life-long condition for which there is no cure. Symptoms may gradually worsen with age. Some individuals have remissions, periods in which symptoms decrease or disappear for days, weeks, or months, although symptoms usually eventually reappear. If RLS symptoms are mild, do not produces significant daytime discomfort, or do not affect an individual's ability to fall asleep, the condition may not have to be treated.

What research is being done?

Research supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) is investigating the relationship between genetics and RLS, as well as research to better understand what causes the disease. NINDS-funded researchers are using advanced magnetic resonance imaging to measure brain chemical changes in individuals with RLS to evaluate their relation to thr disorder's symptoms in hopes of developing new research models and ways to correct the overactive arousal process. 

Information from the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus
Restless Legs

Patient Organizations
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
National Institutes of Health, DHHS
31 Center Drive, Rm. 4A21 MSC 2480
Bethesda
MD
Bethesda, MD 20892-2480
Tel: 301-592-8573; 240-629-3255 (TTY); Recorded Info: 800-575-WELL (9355)
National Sleep Foundation
1010 N. Glebe Road
Suite 310
Arlington
VA
Arlington, VA 22201
Tel: 703-243-1697
Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation
3006 Bee Caves Road
Suite D206
Austin
TX
Austin, TX 78746
Tel: 512-366-9109
Publications

Fact sheet on normal sleep and sleep disorders developed by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).

Patient Organizations