Iron supplementation is effective treatment for restless leg syndrome

May 1, 2014

A retrospective chart review of 97 children who were treated at a children’s hospital for restless leg syndrome (RLS) showed that iron supplementation, either alone or in combination with other treatments, is effective in treating pediatric RLS.

 

A retrospective chart review of 97 children who were treated at a children’s hospital for restless leg syndrome (RLS) showed that iron supplementation, either alone or in combination with other treatments, is effective in treating pediatric RLS.

Most of the children (60.8%) were aged between 5 and 11 years and received iron treatment (3 mg-4 mg of elemental iron per kilogram per day divided into 2 daily doses). Other treatments included nonpharmacologic interventions such as a heating pad or massage; melatonin; gabapentin; clonidine; and dopamine agonists. Among the 75 children with follow-up who were treated with iron, symptoms improved or resolved in about 80%. In children with follow-up who were not treated with iron, only 43.8% saw improvement or resolution of symptoms. Median time to improvement or symptom resolution was 3.8 months. The study also showed that children who responded to iron treatment were likely to have a lower baseline ferritin level than children who did not respond.

Symptoms of RLS also improved or resolved in patients treated with dopaminergic agents, all of whom had been treated earlier with iron (Amos LB, et al. Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2014;53[4]:331-336).

If you suspect this condition, check out the 2003 diagnostic criteria (Allen RP, et al. Sleep Med. 2003;4[2]:101-119). Once you make the diagnosis, consider iron therapy as part of the treatment.

 

Ms Freedman is a freelance medical editor and writer in New Jersey. Dr Burke, section editor for Journal Club, is chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at Saint Agnes Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland. He is a contributing editor for Contemporary Pediatrics. The editors have nothing to disclose in regard to affiliations with or financial interests in any organizations that may have an interest in any part of this article.