Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a common and underdiagnosed condition that results in a desire to move the extremities often associated with paresthesia/dysesthesia, motor restlessness, worsening of symptoms at rest with at least temporary relief by activity, and worsening of symptoms in the evening or night. We tested the new dopamine agonist ropinirole in 16 patients with RLS in an open-label trial. The mean daily dose was 2.8+/-2.3 mg (range, 0.5-12.0). The 13 patients who completed the study reported a 58.7% improvement (p = 1.08 x 10(-8)) as judged by the abbreviated International Restless Legs Study Group questionnaire. Three patients discontinued the medication secondary to adverse events (rash and nervousness) and other extenuating circumstances. These encouraging preliminary results justify larger and more controlled trials of ropinirole in patients with RLS.