Practice parameters for the treatment of restless legs syndrome and periodic limb movement disorder. An American Academy of Sleep Medicine Report. Standards of Practice Committee of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine

Sleep. 1999 Nov 1;22(7):961-8. doi: 10.1093/sleep/22.7.961.


These are the first clinical guidelines published for the treatment of Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) and Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD) providing evidence-based practice parameters. They were developed by the Standards of Practice Committee and reviewed and approved by the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. The guidelines provide recommendations for the practice of sleep medicine in North America regarding the treatment of RLS and PLMD. Recommendations are based on the accompanying comprehensive review of the medical literature regarding treatment of RLS and PLMD which was developed by a task force commissioned by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Recommendations are identified as standards, guidelines, or options, based on the strength of evidence from published studies that meet criteria for inclusion. Dopaminergic agents are the best studied and most successful agents for treatment of RLS and PLMD. Specific recommendations are also given for the use of opioid, benzodiazepine, anticonvulsant, and adrenergic medications, and for iron supplementation. In general, pharmacological treatment should be limited to individuals who meet diagnostic criteria and especially who experience insomnia and/or excessive sleepiness that is thought to occur secondary to RLS or PLMD. Individuals treated with medication should be followed by a physician and monitored for clinical response and adverse effects. It would be desirable for future investigations to employ multicenter clinical trials, with expanded numbers of subjects using double-blind, placebo-controlled designs, and an assessment of long-term response, side effects, and impact of treatment on quality of life. Evaluation of special groups such as children, pregnant women, and the elderly is warranted.

Publication types

  • Guideline
  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers
  • Dopamine Agonists / administration & dosage*
  • Dopamine Agonists / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Nocturnal Myoclonus Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Pregnancy
  • Restless Legs Syndrome / drug therapy*


  • Dopamine Agonists