• restless legs syndrome;
  • migraine;
  • case–control study;
  • sleep quality


To assess and compare the prevalence of migraine in patients with restless legs syndrome (RLS) and matched controls.


Recent studies have suggested an association between migraine and RLS. Our work is the first case–control study on this subject performed in an RLS population.


A case–control study was conducted in 47 RLS patients (27 women and 20 men aged between 18 and 65 years) and 47 age- and sex-matched controls. Validated questionnaires were used to investigate the presence of migraine, anxiety, and depression (Zung Self-Rating Anxiety and Depression scales), sleep quality (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index), and RLS severity (International RLS scale).


RLS patients had higher lifetime prevalence of migraine than non-RLS controls (53.2% vs 25.5%, P = .005; matched-OR 1.3 [P = .019]; adjusted odds ratio (OR) 3.8 [P = .03]). No significant associations were found between RLS and active migraine with aura or inactive migraine (no episodes in the previous year). However, active migraine without aura was significantly more prevalent in patients with RLS than in controls (40.4% vs 12.8%, P = .001; matched OR 1.5 [P = .001]; adjusted OR 2.7 [P = .04]). Within the RLS group, patients with migraine had poorer sleep quality than those without migraine (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index >5:100 vs 80.9%, P = .038) but did not differ in terms of RLS severity, anxiety and depression, use of dopaminergic agonists, and body mass index.


There appears to be a relationship between RLS and migraine, in particular for active migraine without aura.