Restless legs syndrome, also called Willis-Ekbom disease, is a frequent sensorimotor disease, more often encountered in women than men. It is characterized by an urge to move legs, during the evening or the beginning of the night, increased by rest and relieved by movement. Two forms are classically distinguished: primary restless legs syndrome occurring in young adults with family history and secondary forms occurring in older adults with comorbidities such as iron deficiency, chronic renal failure or neurological diseases (affecting central or peripheral nervous system). The clinical impact of the urge to move the legs may be major, including in particular sleep disorders which can profoundly alter the quality of life. Pathophysiology of restless legs syndrome still remains partially understood and probably relies on dopamine metabolism abnormality secondary to cerebral iron deficiency in genetically susceptible patients. That’s why, besides nutritional and sleep hygiene advices, treatment of restless legs syndrome includes iron supplementation if there is an iron deficiency. Pharmacological treatment, for severe to very severe forms, includes use of dopamine agonists, antiepileptic drugs or opioids. These medications have numerous side effects and each prescription has to be individually customized for each patient.Copyright © 2020 Société Nationale Française de Médecine Interne (SNFMI). Published by Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.
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