Summary

  • Restless leg syndrome is a common condition affecting 2-3% of the adult population
  • There is an internationally recognised set of diagnostic criteria
  • It can be idiopathic or secondary to other medical conditions or certain drugs
  • There appears to be a genetic predisposition in over 50% of cases
  • Initial evaluation of the patient should include history, examination and a check of serum ferritin with other tests taken as appropriate
  • It is thought there is a deficiency in dopamine metabolism in the brain
  • Iron deficiency should be excluded and if present investigated and corrected
  • Patient education and self-help measures are important aspects of treatment
  • A validated symptom self rating tool is available and should be used to assess the severity when considering drug treatment
  • Drug treatments are effective however they carry significant risks of side effects
  • Drug treatments may need to be lifelong although there are significant remission and symptom improvement rates

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