Restless legs syndrome

Article section 1 of 16.  Next

By Pinky Agarwal MD and Narendra Vaish PhD

Restless legs syndrome is also known as or subsumes Anxietas tibiarum and Leg jitters. -ed.

The sensory symptoms of restless legs syndrome are paresthesias and dysesthesias in the calves and legs. Descriptions of these phenomena include words such as aching, pulling, drawing, numbness, tingling, prickling, creeping, or crawling. The unpleasant sensations occur during rest and inactivity, and are worse in the late evening and when attempting to sleep. In this clinical article, Dr. Pinky Agarwal Booth Gardner Parkinson Center and Dr. Narendra Vaish MDRNA Inc. discuss the clinical features, diagnosis and differential diagnosis, etiology, pathophysiology, management, and prognosis of this common disorder. The authors have updated genetic loci that have been recently discovered in restless legs syndrome, suggesting the condition is genetically heterogeneous, and also updated new drug therapies. Also updated is management of special conditions such as restless legs syndrome in pregnancy.

Key Points

  • Restless legs syndrome is an underdiagnosed and a very common disorder, often with a positive family history.
  • Several genetic linkages have been identified.
  • Restless legs syndrome may be primary or secondary to other conditions.
  • Treatment is generally quite effective, though sometimes drugs are associated with side effects.
  • Several potential drugs are currently under investigation for treatment of restless legs syndrome.