Melody Ryan; John T. Slevin


Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2006;63(17):1599-1612. 

In This Article


Except perhaps in Asian populations, RLS is a common disorder, occurring in about 10% of the population. The age-adjusted prevalence of RLS determined by telephone interviews in a random population of 1803 adults in Kentucky was 10%.[12] A Canadian survey of 2019 adults estimated the prevalence of RLS symptoms at 17% for women and 13% for men.[13] A population-based survey in West Pomerania, Germany, of 4107 subjects found an overall 10.6% prevalence.[14] Using standardized questions in face-to-face interviews, Rothdach et al.[15] reported an overall prevalence of 9.8% in 369 participants ages 65-83 years in Augsburg, Germany. In a study from Japan, 4612 participants living in urban residential areas were assessed for a single symptom of RLS by a self-administered questionnaire of the following two items: (1) Have you ever been told you jerk your legs or kick sometimes and (2) have you ever experienced sleep disturbance due to a creeping sensation or hot feeling in your legs?[16] The prevalence of RLS ranged from 3% in women ages 20-29 years to 7% in women ages 50-59 years and correlated with age. In contrast to the first three studies, RLS had a higher prevalence in men than women, with the difference reaching significance in those 40-49 years old; in men there was no positive correlation with age. Face-to-face interviews of 157 consecutive individuals ages 55 years and older participating in a health screening program and 1000 consecutive individuals ages 21 years and older from a primary health care center in Singapore yielded much lower prevalence data.[17] Using IRLSSG criteria, the prevalence of RLS in this predominantly Asian population was 0.6% in the older (1 male) and 0.1% (1 female) in the younger cohorts. In the Kentucky and Singapore studies, there was no gender difference; however, in the two German studies, the prevalence was higher in women and in the Japanese study it was higher in men. The Canadian study reported a significantly higher occurrence of bedtime leg restlessness in women.


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