Periodic Limb Movement Disorder Treatment & Management

Updated: Aug 03, 2021
  • Author: Deepak K Gupta, MD; Chief Editor: Selim R Benbadis, MD  more...
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Approach Considerations

A 2012 update of treatment guidelines from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine indicate that although there are no studies of dopaminergic medication effects on periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD), many of the studies of dopaminergic medication effects on restless legs syndrome looked at periodic limb movements of sleep. [25]


Pharmacologic Therapy

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine practice parameters, the dopaminergic agents pramipexole, ropinirole, rotigotine, and the combination of carbidopa/levodopa/entacapone, were shown in some studies to decrease periodic limb movement indices. Gabepentin and pregabalin also showed benefit in studies of subjects with restless legs syndrome (RLS). [25]


Nonpharmacologic Therapy

Some evidence shows that exercise therapy and cognitive-behavioral psychological intervention may provide benefit in periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD). [26]

Klassen et al report improvement with deep brain stimulation in Parkinson patients with PLMD. [27]

Although often suggested based on anecdotal evidence, magnesium supplementation has not been shown to provide significant relief of symptoms in patients with PLMD or restless legs syndrome (RLS). [28]