The effect of selenium administration on restless leg syndrome treatment

Iran Red Crescent Med J. 2012 Jan;14(1):14-9. Epub 2012 Jan 1.


Background: Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is defined as an uncomfortable feeling in the limbs which is prominently sensed in legs. Dopamine system involvement is considered as the base of RLS's etiology. Because of safety, anti-oxidant and dopaminergic promoting action of selenium, this study aims to investigate the effect of selenium on restless leg syndrome treatment.

Methods: Sixty patients with primary RLS were enrolled in this clinical trial (Irct2011103015943n1). It was based on 3 periods of drug prescription with one month wash out period. As placebo, 50 and 200 μg of selenium were administered in each separated month. The diagnosis was based on criteria published by IRLSG (International RLS Study Group). The questionnaire included 10 questions while each question's rating was between 0 and 4. Points between 1 and 10 were considered mild, 11 to 20 as moderate, 21 to 30 as severe and 31 to 40 as very severe. After end of each month of drug consumption, questionnaires were completed and each subject was asked to report the severity of disease and side effects of the drugs. At least 10 declines in scale were considered as appropriate responses.

Results: Improvement (decline IRLS score >10) was significantly higher in selenium (50 and 200 μg) than placebo group.

Conclusion: Selenium prescription in daily recommended dose of 50 μg instead of a dopamine agonist would be an alternative treatment in improvement of RLS symptoms.

Keywords: Restless leg syndrome; Selenium; Treatment.