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Restless legs syndrome (RLS) that is unresponsive to traditional therapies or in which the patients can’t tolerate traditional therapies—can be frustrating for clinicians and patients alike. Opioids can be a viable therapy for these patients—and a paper published in the January 2018 issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings aims to illuminate this treatment pathway.

Michael Silber, MB, ChB, of the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science and an author of the new guidelines, told Sleep Review, “We’ve known for many years there is a percentage of patients with chronic restless legs who are refractory to other treatments, like dopamine agonists and alpha-2-delta ligands and a significant percentage of these patients benefit from opioids. The drugs have been studied for a while and in low doses are highly effective to manage restless legs.”