Restless Legs Syndrome and Other Movement Disorders of Sleep—Treatment Update

Aaro V. Salminen, Juliane Winkelmann

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Purpose of review: The purpose of this review article is to summarize and discuss the recent advances in the treatment of restless legs syndrome (RLS), as well as REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD), and periodic leg movement disorder (PLMD). Recent findings: Traditionally, dopaminergic therapy has been considered the sole option for first-line treatment of RLS due to their impressive acute efficacy. Dopamine agonists such as oral pramipexole and ropinirole, as well as transdermal rotigotine are all effective treatment options. However, augmentation of the RLS symptoms is a major limitation of oral dopaminergic therapy. Recently, gabapentinoid agents such as gabapentin enacarbil and pregabalin have shown comparable short-term efficacy to dopaminergics with lower risk of augmentation of the RLS symptoms. Recent evidence on the efficacy of oxycodone-naloxone in treatment-resistant RLS provides an additional therapeutic avenue. The increasing understanding of the role of iron in RLS pathophysiology has led to new options in iron supplementation therapy in RLS, including treatment with ferric carboxymaltose. Summary: With emerging evidence of augmentation being a side effect specific to dopaminergic treatment, gabapentinoids are considered a safer option as initial treatment. In severe refractory RLS, oxycodone-naloxone can be used. If iron stores are low, IV iron formulations should be the initial treatment choice. New treatment options are needed to address issues with current therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number55
JournalCurrent Treatment Options in Neurology
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Dopamine agonist
  • Gabapentinoid
  • Opioid
  • REM sleep behavior disorder
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Treatment


Dive into the research topics of 'Restless Legs Syndrome and Other Movement Disorders of Sleep—Treatment Update'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this