The effect of sclerotherapy on restless legs syndrome

Dermatol Surg. 1995 Apr;21(4):328-32. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-4725.1995.tb00183.x.


Background: Restless Legs syndrome (RLS) is a disorder of unknown etiology characterized by relentless leg discomfort when stationary, which compels voluntary leg movement to obtain temporary relief. We have received anecdotal reports of coincidental relief from symptoms of RLS in patients following sclerotherapy for varicose vein disease.

Objective: To prospectively evaluate the concomitant occurrence of RLS and varicose veins in a population seeking treatment for varicose veins, and to assess the therapeutic response of RLS to sclerotherapy.

Methods: One thousand three hundred and ninety-seven patients were screened for RLS symptoms by questionnaire and interview, and for saphenous vein disease by clinical examination, including continuous-wave Doppler. Sclerotherapy with sodium tetradecyl sulphate was performed on 113 RLS patients.

Results: RLS symptoms were present in 22% (312/1,397), with a Doppler-negative to Doppler-positive ratio of 3:2. One hundred and eleven of the 113 treated patients (98%) reported initial relief from RLS symptoms. Follow-up thus far shows a recurrence rate of 8% and 28% at 1 and 2 years, respectively.

Conclusions: RLS is common in patients with both saphenous and nontruncal varicose vein disease, and can respond frequently and rapidly to sclerotherapy. This subpopulation of RLS sufferers should be considered for phlebological evaluation and possible treatment before being consigned to chronic drug therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Restless Legs Syndrome / etiology
  • Restless Legs Syndrome / therapy*
  • Sclerotherapy* / methods
  • Varicose Veins / complications
  • Varicose Veins / therapy