An open pilot study with the dopamine agonist α-dihydroergocryptine (DHEC) was conducted in 16 patients with idiopathic restless legs syndrome (RLS) over a period of 5 weeks. Following a drug-free interval of 1 week, the patients were treated with daily doses of 10 to 40 mg DHEC. As compared to baseline values, treatment led to a statistically significant reduction of subjective RLS symptoms. Overall complaints at night decreased significantly by 63.9 ± 38.1% as measured by a visual analogue scale. Detailed evaluation of sensory discomfort, motor restlessness, involuntary movements, as well as sleep quality also showed significant improvement. Side effects were mostly mild and affected mainly the gastrointestinal tract. Five patients needed domperidone for treatment of concomitant nausea. One patient stopped the study due to nausea. In conclusion, the results of this open study suggest a role for DHEC in the treatment of RLS. © 2001 Movement Disorder Society.