Prevalence and clinical profile of restless legs syndrome in Parkinson's disease

Mov Disord. 2010 Oct 15;25(13):2142-7. doi: 10.1002/mds.23241.


Parkinson's disease (PD) and restless legs syndrome (RLS) have a dopaminergic link. More insight in the clinical profile of RLS in patients with PD may benefit our understanding of this link. The aims of this study were to evaluate the frequency and clinical profile of RLS in a large cohort of PD patients. In 269 nondemented Caucasian PD patients, the four diagnostic criteria for RLS were administered by a RLS trained researcher. In patients with definite RLS, the severity of these symptoms was assessed. Furthermore, in all patients, relevant motor and nonmotor symptoms in PD were evaluated. Definite RLS was present in 11% of the patients. RLS patients were more often female (69% vs. 32%, P < 0.001), but no other significant differences existed between PD patients with and without RLS. Within the PD patients with RLS, severity of RLS correlated positively with PD severity, motor fluctuations, depressive symptoms, daytime sleepiness, cognitive problems, autonomic symptoms, and psychotic symptoms. This study in a large PD cohort shows that prevalence of RLS is similar to that in the general population, which might be caused by underestimation of RLS due to dopaminergic treatment. No relations were found between the presence of RLS and PD symptoms, but the severity of RLS was related to the severity of PD-related, mainly nondopaminergic, symptoms. It is hypothesized that, nondopaminergic systems, such as the noradrenergic system may play a role in the possible link between PD and RLS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parkinson Disease / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Restless Legs Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Restless Legs Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology