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August 1983

Treatment of Restless Legs Syndrome

Author Affiliations

Psychopharmacology Research Laboratory (151B1)
Brain Function and Behavioral Research Laboratory Veterans Administration Medical Center 16111 Plummer St Sepulveda, CA 91343

Arch Neurol. 1983;40(8):526. doi:10.1001/archneur.1983.04210070066020

To the Editor.  —We read with interest Akpinar's recent report (Archives 1982;39:739) on the beneficial effect of a levodopa-benserazide combination in relieving restless legs syndrome. That this drug regimen has not produced insomnia in their patients is noteworthy. Large doses of levodopa are known to increase waking time1 and to decrease rapid eye movement sleep2 in normal subjects. Because restless legs syndrome appears only at rest, and mostly before bedtime, a treatment that facilitates sleep may be more appropriate for this condition.It has been reported that certain benzodiazepines, especially clonazepam, relieve restless legs syndrome dramatically.3,4 In our animal model for myoclonus, in which the myclonic jerks are localized in the hind quarter (and hence resemble restless legs syndrome more closely than does myoclonus), clonazepam and flunitrazepam were 33 and 116 times more effective than diazepam, respectively, in blocking these jerks.5 This finding warrants the clinical

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