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A Journal on Psychiatry, Psychology and Psychopharmacology

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Social Psychiatry
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Minerva Psichiatrica 2007 September;48(3):329-38

language: Italian

Restless legs syndrome

Cosentino F. I. I., Ferri R.

Centro per lo Studio del Sonno e dei suoi Disturbi Dipartimento per l’Involuzione Cerebrale I.R.C.C.S. Oasi, Troina, Enna


Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a sensory-motor neurological disorder. It usually appears when patients try to relax in the evening or to sleep at night with, sometimes, unpleasant restless feelings in their legs and/or need to move them which can be relieved by movement or walking. RLS is a very common condition and, often, disabling; epidemiological studies suggest that it affects 5-10% of the general population in the United States and Northern Europe. It occurs typically in adults and elders, but it can affect also children. The prevalence and severity of RLS increase with age and its incidence in women is the double than in men. The most frequent form of RLS is idiopathic, but it can occur as a consequence of or in association with a series of different clinical conditions, such as iron deficiency, pregnancy, renal failure, spinocerebellar ataxia, spinal stenosis, polyneuropathies, lumbosacral radiculopathy, and Parkinson’s disease. The current therapeutic approach is based on dopamine-agonists which are usually effective for the relief of the subjective symptoms and motor disturbances which precede and accompany RLS patients’ sleep. The knowledge of this syndrome is important for the real possibility to modify positively its disturbing symptoms.

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