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Results show that the prevalence of restless legs syndrome was about 10 times higher in the fibromyalgia group (33 percent) than among controls (3.1 percent). After statistical adjustments for potential confounders such as age, gender and ethnicity, participants with fibromyalgia were 11 times more likely than controls to have RLS (odds ratio = 11.2). As expected, considerable sleep disruption was reported by participants with fibromyalgia using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, Insomnia Severity Index and Epworth Sleepiness Scale. In the fibromyalgia group these sleep problems were more severe among people who also had RLS.
"Sleep disruption is common in fibromyalgia, and often difficult to treat," said contributing author Doctor Nathaniel F. Watson, University of Washington in Seattle. "It is apparent from our study that a substantial portion of sleep disruption in fibromyalgia is due to restless legs syndrome."
The research team led by Watson and lead author Doctor Mari Viola-Saltzman, Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, studied 172 people with fibromyalgia who had a mean age of 50 years; 93 percent were female. They were compared with 63 healthy controls who had a mean age of 41 years.
Fibromyalgia was identified by self-report or review of the medical records, and it was confirmed on examination according to published guidelines regarding the presence of pain that is chronic and widespread. Pain was assessed by subjective report and by objective measurement with a dolorimeter, a spring-loaded gauge that is used to apply standardized rates of pressure to tender points on the arms and legs.
Restless legs syndrome was diagnosed using a self-administered, validated questionnaire. Watson noted that treating restless legs syndrome may be one of the keys to reducing fatigue and improving quality of life in people with fibromyalgia. RLS often can be successfully treated with a medication such as pramipexole or ropinirole.
"Since restless legs syndrome is a treatable condition, diagnosing and treating RLS in fibromyalgia patients has the potential to improve their sleep," Watson said.
MEDICA.de; Source: American Academy of Sleep Medicine