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Common Drug Eases Restless Legs Syndrome
Date:4/29/2009

Lyrica also improves quality of sleep for patients, study finds,,,,

WEDNESDAY, April 29 (HealthDay News) -- Lyrica, a drug used to treat epilepsy, nerve pain, anxiety and fibromyalgia, shows promise in easing the symptoms of restless legs syndrome, a Spanish researcher reports.

Some 5 percent to 10 percent of adults in the United States have restless legs syndrome (RLS), a disorder that causes people to feel a compelling need to move their legs, especially while lying down. The condition can have a substantial impact on sleep, daily activities and quality of life, researchers say.

"This is the first time this drug is being tried for RLS," said Dr. Diego Garcia-Borreguero, director of the Sleep Research Institute in Madrid. "Pregabalin [Lyrica] is an effective drug for the treatment of RLS -- it leads about 60 percent of patients into clinical remission."

The drug improves both the sensation and motor symptoms of RLS, Garcia-Borreguero said.

He also noted that patients taking Lyrica had improved quality of sleep. "Other drugs for RLS had not been able to solve this problem," he said. "They have not been able to improve sleep."

This use of Lyrica is an off-label one, Garcia-Borreguero cautioned.

The findings were to be presented Wednesday at the American Academy of Neurology's annual meeting, in Seattle.

For the study, Garcia-Borreguero randomly assigned 58 people with RLS to Lyrica or a placebo. Sleep studies were performed at the beginning and end of the 12-week trial.

Garcia-Borreguero found that almost 75 percent of patients taking Lyrica had RLS symptoms stop while taking the drug. Among those who continued to have RLS, their symptoms improved by 66 percent. Patients on placebo saw their symptoms worsen by 29 percent.

In addition, those taking Lyrica had better sleep compared with patients taking placebo. Patients on Lyrica had more slow-wave sleep, or
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