European guidelines on management of restless legs syndrome: report of a joint task force by the European Federation of Neurological Societies, the European Neurological Society and the European Sleep Research Society

Eur J Neurol. 2012 Nov;19(11):1385-96. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-1331.2012.03853.x. Epub 2012 Sep 3.


Background: Since the publication of the first European Federation of Neurological Societies (EFNS) guidelines in 2005 on the management of restless legs syndrome (RLS; also known as Willis-Ekbom disease), there have been major therapeutic advances in the field. Furthermore, the management of RLS is now a part of routine neurological practice in Europe. New drugs have also become available, and further randomized controlled trials have been undertaken. These guidelines were undertaken by the EFNS in collaboration with the European Neurological Society and the European Sleep Research Society.

Objectives: To provide an evidence-based update of new treatments published since 2005 for the management of RLS.

Methods: First, we determined what the objectives of management of primary and secondary RLS should be. We developed the search strategy and conducted a review of the scientific literature up to 31 December 2011 (print and electronic publications) for the drug classes and interventions employed in RLS treatment. Previous guidelines were consulted. All trials were analysed according to class of evidence, and recommendations made according to the 2004 EFNS criteria for rating.

Recommendations: Level A recommendations can be made for rotigotine, ropinirole, pramipexole, gabapentin enacarbil, gabapentin and pregabalin, which are all considered effective for the short-term treatment for RLS. However, for the long-term treatment for RLS, rotigotine is considered effective, gabapentin enacarbil is probably effective, and ropinirole, pramipexole and gabapentin are considered possibly effective. Cabergoline has according to our criteria a level A recommendation, but the taskforce cannot recommend this drug because of its serious adverse events.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Restless Legs Syndrome / therapy*