• restless legs syndrome;
  • migraine;
  • prevalence


While previous studies have investigated the prevalence of restless legs syndrome (RLS) in patients with migraine, we aimed to explore the prevalence and characteristics of migraine in adult patients diagnosed with RLS.


The association of primary headaches, especially of migraine, with RLS has recently attracted much attention. Migraine prevalence was reported to be higher in patients with RLS than in the general population, and the role of dopamine was strengthened.


We evaluated 265 consecutive adult RLS patients (137 males and 128 females) followed up in a Sleep Disorders Unit and diagnosed according to criteria defined by the International Restless Legs Syndrome Study Group (IRLSSG). RLS characteristics, and the severity, were performed by using the IRLSSG severity scale. The diagnosis of headache subtypes was defined by the International Classification of Headache Disorders. Gender, age, age at RLS onset, duration of RLS, family history of RLS, family history of headache, presence of depression, any treatments given for RLS, and the change in headache following RLS treatment were questioned.


The mean age of the study population was 50.4 ± 12.8 years, mean age at RLS onset was 41.6 ± 13.2 years, and mean disease duration was 8.40 ± 8.6 years. Of these, 163 patients had headache; 40 of them were diagnosed to have migraine-type headache (15.1%). The presence of migraine-type headache was 9.4% in males with RLS, and 21.1% in female RLS patients. In RLS patients with migraine, 67.5% were females, while 48.0% of RLS patients with other types of headache were females (P = .032), and only 41.2% of RLS patients without headache were females (P = .005). The severity of RLS was significantly higher in patients with migraine compared with those without headache (P < .001). The presence of depression, the family history of RLS, and headache were also higher in patients with migraine compared with RLS patients with other types of headache or those without headache. Thirty-six patients with headache reported partial or substantial benefit from RLS treatment.


Our results did not suggest higher rates of migraine-type headache in RLS patients when compared with population-based prevalence studies from Turkey. Alternatively, the severity of RLS was significantly higher in patients with migraine. Although the increase in these scores does not constitute a relationship etiopathogenetic, it suggests a correlation between the type cross-model nociceptive systems. Moreover, the family history of RLS was higher in patients with migraine. The prevalence of migraine in patients with RLS, however, waits to be better demonstrated.