Parkinson's Drug Quiets RLS

Published Online: Thursday, July 1, 2004

An international study found that the drug pergolide, used to treat patients with Parkinson's disease, appears to work in patients with restless legs syndrome (RLS). This condition, characterized by sensory and motor abnormalities of the limbs associated with an urge to move, afflicts 5% to 10% of the population. In the study, 100 RLS patients in 7 countries were given antinausea medication for 10 to 14 days before taking pergolide or a placebo. (Nausea is a side effect of pergolide.)

The researchers measured sleep efficiency and periodic limb movements (PLMS) during sleep. The severity of RLS was assessed by the validated International RLS Scale. "Our study demonstrates that pergolide substantially improves PLMS measures and subjective sleep disturbances associated with RLS," said study author Claudia Trenkwalder, MD. (The findings were reported in Neurology, April 27, 2004.)

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