[Therapy of idiopathic and uremic restless legs syndrome].Nervenarzt 1996; 67(4):265-76N
Sensory and motor symptoms of the limbs, motor restlessness and an urge to move only at rest are the characteristics of the restless legs syndrome (RLS), which often leads to severe sleep disturbances. The clinical diagnosis can be made on the basis of the typical history, normal neurological findings and, in some cases, a positive family history, and can be confirmed by polysomnography. The indication for treatment depends on the patient's discomfort and the severity of the sleep disturbances. L-DOPA is the treatment of first choice both in idiopathic and uremic RLS. A bedtime dose of 100-200 mg L-DOPA standard plus decarboxylase inhibitor is effective against mild and moderate sleep disturbances in RLS. Titration of the dosage and additional treatment with sustained-release preparations of L-DOPA should be applied individually. Opioids and dopamine agonists are effective alternative treatments in idiopathic RLS. Benzodiazepines are indicated only in individual cases. Besides L-DOPA, uremic RLS patients can be treated with opioids and benzodiazepines. Various approaches in the treatment of idiopathic and uremic RLS are reviewed and the practical management of therapy is outlined.