Advances in pediatric restless legs syndrome: Iron, genetics, diagnosis and treatment

Matthew A. Picchietti, Daniel L. Picchietti

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


A substantial literature characterizes pediatric restless legs syndrome (RLS), which occurs in about 1.9% of individuals between 8 and 18. years of age. Diagnostic interview techniques and an updated inventory of pediatric RLS mimics are presented. Evidence for comorbidity of pediatric RLS with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, depression, and anxiety is reviewed as is the relationship to periodic limb movements in sleep and periodic limb movement disorder. The role of relative iron deficiency in pediatric RLS is discussed, along with new data indicating the benefit of iron therapy in reducing symptoms. Five genetic variants have been linked to RLS, an important finding in a condition that is highly familial in early-onset cases. Numerous case reports and case series indicate benefit for moderate to severe pediatric RLS with medication. However, to date, there have been no double-blind, placebo-controlled studies of therapy for pediatric RLS published. These and other recent advances relevant to pediatric RLS research are reviewed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)643-651
Number of pages9
JournalSleep Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Aug 2010


  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • Children
  • Ferritin
  • Genetics
  • Periodic limb movement disorder
  • Periodic limb movements in sleep
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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