Restless legs syndrome (RLS, restless legs)

21 October 2017

© Jupiterimages / Digital Vision

In more than 50 percent that an emergency occurs, the restless legs syndrome piled in the family on. Therefore, it is believed that there are hereditary influences. Meanwhile, several genes are known which appear to play a role in the disease. Exactly what form this, however, is still unklar.Grundsätzlich be in Restless Legs Syndrome two forms distinguished:

In restless legs syndrome (RLS, restless legs), the doctor's diagnosis is primarily based on symptoms. to do four criteria be met:

additional signs, that may indicate the restless legs syndrome and assist in the diagnosis are:

In some cases, the doctor inserts for suspected restless legs syndrome to diagnose the so-called L-dopa Test by. Here, the party has been given the drug L-dopa. their symptoms improve, this can strengthen the diagnosis. However, the symptoms do not improve, it can not exclude a certain restless legs syndrome, however, also.

need about two to three percent of patients with restless legs syndrome special medication. Most of the time, is the case if can not be established that

In such cases, treatment with the drug is levodopa (L-dopa) or the active ingredient combination  Levodopa and benserazide. Also a treatment with so-called dopamine agonists as ropinirole, rotigotine or pramipexole is possible. Treatment with L-dopa is essentially a kind Dopamine replacement therapy. however, agents from the group of dopamine agonists mimic dopamine gradually so call a dopamine-like effect out.

Show the dopamine agonist sufficient effect or if excessive side effects, some doctors also use opioids such as oxycodone or antiepileptic drugs such as pregabalin or gabapentin. These drugs can relieve in some cases the symptoms very pronounced and very painful restless legs syndrome. Unlike L-dopa and dopamine agonists certain they are not yet officially approved for RLS therapy in Germany. Nevertheless, these agents may for a "Off-label use" be prescribed for restless legs syndrome, so for a "not intended purpose",

Restless Legs Syndrome: A man holding two tablets in his right hand and a glass of water in his left hand. © iStock

Specific drugs such as dopamine or dopamine agonists require only two to three percent of patients with restless legs syndrome.

The restless legs syndrome (RLS, restless legs) can take a very different course. Mostly, however, it can be treated well.

In the course of therapy with levodopa (L-dopa) or dopamine agonists, it may happen that the symptoms intensify suddenly or use the complaints before, although nothing has changed in the treatment. GP call that augmentation. Sometimes spread the symptoms to other body parts from. Develops in the patient such an augmentation, the doctor for the therapy.


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