Restless Legs Syndrome Often Responds to Sclerotherapy

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is a disorder characterized by leg discomfort when stationary which compels voluntary leg movement to obtain temporary relief.  Originally described in the 17th century, it has since been classified as a sleep disorder, and is a common condition affecting females more often than males.

Although associated with several medical conditions including iron-deficiency and pregnancy, no specific cause has yet been identified. Patients we see usually complain of RLS symptoms during the evening and in association with daytime periods of prolonged inactivity such as air travel or watching movies.

A published study from VCOC entitled “The Effect of Sclerotherapy on Restless Legs Syndrome” demonstrated the frequent association of RLS with both large varicose and smaller spider veins.1 Most of the 1,300 patients participating in the study who underwent sclerotherapy for their vein disease experienced resolution of their RLS symptoms.  Subsequent follow-up showed that RLS symptoms tend to recur over time, and that re-treatment of recurrent vein disease again induced remission of recurrent RLS symptoms.  Years later a colleague found the same relief from RLS symptoms after saphenous vein treatment.2   For RLS which is unrelated to venous disease, drug therapy exists but with potential side effects. 

 

  1. Kanter A. The effect of Sclerotherapy on Restless Legs Syndrome. Dermatol Surg 1995; 21:328-32.
  2. Montplaisir J. Lapierre O, Warnes H. Pelletier G. The treatment of restless legs syndrome with or without periodic leg movements in sleep. Sleep 1992; 15:391-5.

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