Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS). Diagnostics & Therapy
How is restless leg syndrome (RLS) identified?
Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is diagnosed based on a description of the symptoms, a supplementary neurological examination to rule out other diseases with similar signs and symptoms and in some cases based on the response to a trial drug therapy. In some cases, an assessment in a sleep laboratory over 1 or 2 nights is advisable.
What are the treatment options for restless leg syndrome (RLS)?
The preferable treatment of choice is the administration of a drug that intensifies the effect of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the central nervous system. These are medications that were originally developed for the treatment of Parkinson's disease and their efficacy in the treatment of restless leg syndrome has been demonstrated in studies. The drugs Restex®, Adartrel® and Sifrol® have been approved. Restex® contains the substance L-dopa, which is converted to the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain. Almost all patients at least initially experience relief or resolution of the symptoms after being treated with one tablet of Restex® in the evening. The dopamine agonists Adartrel® and Sifrol® are given at a lower dose and the dose escalated until an adequate effect is achieved. For each treatment, the right dose must be determined on a case-by-case basis. If the patient does not respond sufficiently to these approved drugs, other medications that are not specifically approved for this indication can be used. These are substances that are similar to opiates, such as oxycodone, or carbamazepine and gabapentin, which were developed as antiepileptic drugs. Symptomatic RLS should be improved by treating the underlying disease. In cases of iron deficiency, iron is substituted, while patients with advanced kidney disease or those on dialysis experience improvement in their restless leg syndrome (RLS) after kidney transplantation.
Inpatient rehabilitation for restless leg syndrome (RLS) alone is not appropriate. However, this may be appropriate for symptomatic forms of RLS with other underlying neurological disorders. In this case, the drug therapy for RLS can be optimally adjusted during treatment.
These centres of excellence of our clinics and hospitals have doctors and therapists qualified to treat Restless Legs Syndrome.