Patch application of the dopamine agonist rotigotine to patients with moderate to advanced stages of restless legs syndrome: a double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study

Mov Disord. 2004 Dec;19(12):1432-8. doi: 10.1002/mds.20251.


Efficacy and safety of the dopamine agonist rotigotine (RTG) was investigated in patients with moderate to severe idiopathic restless legs syndrome (RLS), including daytime symptoms. Three fixed doses of rotigotine (1.125 mg, 2.25 mg, and 4.5 mg) and placebo were applied by patches (size, 2.5 cm2 per 1.125 mg) in a double-blind, randomized, parallel-group, multicenter, 1-week, proof-of-principle trial. The primary efficacy measure was the total score on the International Restless Legs Syndrome Scale (IRLS). Additionally, the RLS-6 scale, the Clinical Global Impressions (CGI), and a sleep diary were used. Of 68 enrolled patients, 63 (mean age, 58+/-; 9 years; 64% women) were randomly assigned. RLS severity improved related to dose by 10.5 (1.125 mg RTG/die; P = 0.41), 12.3 (2.25 mg RTG/die; P = 0.18), and 15.7 points (4.5 mg RTG/die; P < 0.01) on the IRLS compared to placebo (8 points). According to the RLS-6 scales, daytime symptoms significantly improved with all rotigotine doses. The CGI items supported the favorable efficacy of the 4.5-mg dose. Skin tolerability of the patches and systemic side effects were similar between rotigotine and placebo. This pilot study suggests that continuous delivery of rotigotine by means of a patch may provide an effective and well-tolerated treatment of RLS symptoms both during night and day.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Dopamine Agonists / adverse effects
  • Dopamine Agonists / therapeutic use
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Hypersensitivity / diagnosis
  • Drug Hypersensitivity / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Restless Legs Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Tetrahydronaphthalenes / administration & dosage*
  • Tetrahydronaphthalenes / adverse effects
  • Tetrahydronaphthalenes / therapeutic use
  • Thiophenes / administration & dosage*
  • Thiophenes / adverse effects
  • Thiophenes / therapeutic use


  • Dopamine Agonists
  • Tetrahydronaphthalenes
  • Thiophenes
  • rotigotine