Restless legs syndrome (RLS)/Willis-Ekbom disease (WED) is a common disorder, occurring at least twice a week and causing at least moderate distress in 1.5% to 2.7% of the population. It is important for primary care physicians to be familiar with this disorder and its management. Much has changed in its management since our previous algorithm was published in 2004, including the availability of several new drugs. This revised algorithm was written by members of the Medical Advisory Board of the Willis-Ekbom Disease Syndrome Foundation based on scientific evidence and expert opinion. It considers the management of RLS/ WED under intermittent RLS/WED, chronic persistent RLS/WED, and refractory RLS/WED. Nonpharmacological approaches, including mental alerting activities, avoiding substances or medications that may exacerbate RLS, and the role of iron supplementation, are outlined. Chronic persistent RLS/WED should be treated with either a nonergot dopamine agonist or a calciumchannel α-2-δ ligand. We discuss the available drugs, the factors determining which to use, and their adverse effects. We define refractory RLS/WED and describe management approaches, including combination therapy and the use of high-potency opioids.
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