Restless Legs Syndrome- Pharmacist
Crawling, tingling, creeping, pulling, restless. These are common descriptions of Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS), which affects about 10% of the population. The uncomfortable sensations are accompanied by an almost irresistible urge to move the limbs, generally the legs. Traditionally underdiagnosed and undertreated, RLS may strike at any age, though it most commonly presents at around 50 to 60 years old and is twice as common in women as men. Beyond the discomfort, RLS can result in loss of sleep, depression, impaired quality of life, and substantial economic burden. While the exact cause of RLS is still somewhat of a mystery, it appears that both dopamine and iron are involved and several treatment options are available. Community healthcare providers play an essential role in recognizing the signs of RLS, as well as underlying conditions and coexisting disorders that may contribute to its occurrence. This issue reviews the FDA approved treatments for RLS, medications used off-label for the condition, and non-drug strategies that can help reduce symptoms. Ways to reduce the adverse effects and complications of therapy are also summarized.