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Keywords:

  • restless legs syndrome;
  • augmentation;
  • opioids;
  • tramadol;
  • polysomnography

Abstract

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) augmentation, defined as a kind of suppression of the circadian rhythm of the disease in which sensory and motor symptoms appear earlier during the day (and over previously unaffected body parts), with a progressive phase advance until, backwards, the symptoms may cover the entire day, has been described only after treatment with dopaminergic drugs. We report clinical and polysomnographic accounts of a patient developing RLS augmentation after long-term treatment with tramadol, an opioid agonist with selectivity for μ-receptor and added norepinephrine and serotonin reuptake inhibition properties. Polysomnographic measures showed an improvement of RLS and a disappearance of diurnal sensory and motor RLS symptoms after tramadol was stopped. Our case confirms a recent retrospective report of augmentation of RLS after treatment with tramadol, and begs the question whether augmentation is truly restricted to dopaminergic drugs. © 2006 Movement Disorder Society