Restless Legs Syndrome and Iron
Restless legs syndrome (RLS), also known as Willis-Ekbom disease, is one of the most common neurological disorders that significantly affects quality of life and sleep. It manifests itself in involuntary movements of the lower limbs due to the feeling of discomfort and restlessness that patients feel in their lower limbs.
RLS is of great interest to the experts in various fields of medicine, especially to neurologists, general practitioners, internists and psychiatrists. Numerous clinical conditions and diseases play a role in the pathophysiology of RLS. Some of them are pregnancy, some kidney and stomach diseases, iron deficiency and some disorders of the metabolism.
Moreover, iron is a very important micronutrient in the human body. It is involved in many metabolic processes and, in addition to RLS, it is also associated with other diseases such as hemochromatosis and anemia. This neurological disorder has wide therapeutic choices, which include lifestyle changes, dopaminergic agonists, opioids and iron therapy. Many non-anemic patients with RLS showed reduced levels in brain iron levels compared to healthy control groups in several research. The best course of treatment for this group of patients is iron supplementation.
Oral iron supplementations are the first choice of therapy for patients with low serum ferritin levels. However, when serum ferritin levels are normal or high or when oral iron is not tolerated, intravenous iron is a better choice. There are many intravenous iron formulations, but low molecular weight dextran and ferric carboxymaltose have very efficient effects on the treatment of RLS.
(Pulić * J. Restless Legs Syndrome and Iron. SEEMEDJ 2020; 4(1); 55-62)