Management of restless legs syndrome in primary care


Restless legs syndrome (RLS), recently renamed as Willis-Ekbom disease (WED), is a common neurological disorder characterised by an uncontrollable urge to move certain parts of the body, particularly the lower limbs


  • Diagnosis of restless legs syndrome (RLS) can be made if all of the following five criteria are met (International RLS Study Group [IRLSSG] diagnostic criteria):
    • 1. a need to move the legs, usually accompanied or caused by uncomfortable, unpleasant sensations in the legs
    • symptoms are:
      • 2. exclusively present or worsen during periods of inactivity/rest
      • 3. partially or totally relieved by movement, such as walking, or stretching at least as long as the activity continues
      • 4. generally worse or exclusively occur in the evening or during the night
        • exclude mimics/differential diagnosis as the occurrence of the first four essential criteria must not be solely accounted for, as symptoms primary to another medical or a behavioural condition

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