Update on Restless Legs Syndrome: from Mechanisms to Treatment

Paulina Gonzalez-Latapi, Roneil Gopal Malkani*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: To provide an overview of the molecular pathways and recent genetic risk loci associated with restless legs syndrome/Willis-Ekbom disease (RLS/WED) and describe the most recent treatment guidelines. Recent Findings: Diagnostic criteria for RLS/WED now include a fifth criterion to differentiate from RLS/WED mimics. Our understanding of disease pathophysiology has improved, specifically regarding iron regulation in the brain and the role of other pathways such as opioid signaling and brain and spinal cord circuitry may play. Finally, several genetic risk loci have been described, including MEIS1 which is currently considered to be the strongest genetic risk factor for RLS/WED. Treatment guidelines now suggest α2δ ligands such as gabapentin enacarbil should be used as first-line treatment. Summary: The current literature focuses on disease pathways as well as the development of animal models based on genetic risk factors for RLS/WED. Updated treatment guidelines expand on first-line treatment options.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number54
JournalCurrent neurology and neuroscience reports
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019


  • Augmentation
  • Dopamine
  • Iron
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Willis-Ekbom disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology


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