A long-term prospective follow-up study of incident RLS in the course of chronic DAergic therapy in newly diagnosed untreated patients with Parkinson’s disease
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- Calzetti, S., Angelini, M., Negrotti, A. et al. J Neural Transm (2014) 121: 499. doi:10.1007/s00702-013-1132-8
It is currently controversial if and in which terms Parkinson’s disease (PD) and restless legs syndrome (RLS) are linked in co-morbid association. In a cohort of 106 de novo PD patients (67 male and 39 female, aged 42–83 years), 15 of them developed RLS, which was prospectively assessed at 6-month intervals from the starting of dopamine(DA)ergic therapy. The incidence rate of total RLS was 47 per 1,000 case/person per year and 37 per 1,000 case/person per year after the exclusion of possible “secondary” forms of the disorder (n = 3). These figures are higher than those reported in an incidence study conducted in German general population (Study of Health in Pomerania), in which the method of ascertainment of RLS similar to ours has been used. An incidence rate of total RLS significantly higher than that reported in the above-mentioned study was found in the age ranges 55–64 years and in the age range 45–74 years standardized to European general population 2013 (70 and 53 per 1,000 case/person per year, respectively, p < 0.01). Ten out of 12 patients (83.3 %) developed RLS within 24 months from the starting of DAergic medication (median latency 7.5 months). These findings support the view that sustained DAergic therapy could represent the critical factor inducing an increased incidence of RLS in patients with PD and that the latter disease should be regarded as the condition predisposing to the occurrence of the former and not viceversa as previously hypothesized. The mechanism underlying the increased incidence of RLS remains unclear and deserves further investigation.