(HealthDay News) – In patients with restless legs syndrome, dopamine agonists and calcium channel alpha-2-delta ligands are effective in reducing symptoms and improving sleep and quality of life, although adverse events are common and often lead to treatment withdrawals, according to a review published online March 4 in JAMA Internal Medicine.
Timothy J. Wilt, MD, MPH, from the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Health Care System, and colleagues performed a meta-analysis of 29 randomized controlled trials examining pharmacologic treatments of ≥4 weeks for primary restless legs syndrome.
The researchers found that, compared with placebo, more patients treated with dopamine agonists had a clinically important response (61% vs. 41%; risk ratio, 1.6). Dopamine agonists also improved sleep scores and measures of quality of life. Compared with placebo, more patients treated with calcium channel alpha-2-delta ligands also had a clinically important response (61% vs. 37%; risk ratio, 1.66). Adverse events were common and included nausea, vomiting, and somnolence with dopamine agonists and somnolence and unsteadiness or dizziness with alpha-2-delta ligands.
“On the basis of short-term randomized controlled trials that enrolled highly selected populations with long-term high-moderate to very severe symptoms, dopamine agonists and calcium channel alpha-2-delta ligands reduced restless legs syndrome symptoms and improved sleep outcomes and disease-specific quality of life,” Wilt and colleagues conclude.