Long-term management issues in restless legs syndrome


  • Sudhansu Chokroverty MD, FRCP, FACP

    Corresponding author
    1. Departments of Neurology, Neurophysiology and Sleep Medicine, and Neuroscience, Seton Hall University, South Orange, New Jersey, USA Department of Neurology, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Newark, New Jersey, USA
    • NJ Neuroscience Institute at JFK, Neurology, 65 James Street, Edison, NJ 08818, USA
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  • Relevant conflicts of interest/financial disclosures: Dr. Chokroverty is Editor-in-Chief of Sleep Medicine and is on the Speakers' Bureau for Cephalon.


Restless legs syndrome is a neurologic movement and sleep disorder with lifelong symptoms causing considerable morbidity. Several short-term and some long-term open-label and double-blind clinical trials have demonstrated the efficacy and safety of dopaminergic treatment in restless legs syndrome. Long-term treatment, however, is associated with the emergence of vexing long-term side effects that pose a challenge for physicians. These long-term complications can be broadly categorized as disease-related (impact on sleep and acute exacerbation of restless legs syndrome symptoms), and medication issues (augmentation, sleep attacks, impulse control disorders, addiction and dependence, site reaction, occasionally sleep apnea, fibrotic complications, and weight gain). © 2011 Movement Disorder Society