Periodic Limb Movements
Periodic Limb Movement Disorder
Periodic limb movements are often associated with restless legs syndrome which is a condition involving sensations in the legs and sometimes arms while awake. 80% of people with restless legs syndrome have periodic limb movements.
Periodic limb disorder can be primary or secondary. Primary PLM’s have no known cause. Secondary plmd has many causes on the contrary including…
- Diabetes Mellitus
- Iron deficiency (first line test)
- Spinal cord trauma
- Sleep apnea
- Medication including antidopaminergenic agents, dopaminergenic agents and antidepressants
- Withdrawal from sedative medications like benzodiazepines
Unfortunately treatments do not cure the disorder but usually help relieve symptoms and reduce the amount of movements to improve our patients quality of sleep. Some limb movements are normal, but when you reach a certain level of movements they begin to affect the quality of your sleep. Medications are often a first line defense and can include…
- Benzodiazepines which can help supress muscle contractions.
- Dopaminergic agents that increase the levels of dopamine in the brain which is important in regulating muscle movements. Levodopa/carbidopa are two common examples.
- GABA agonists. These agents stop the release of certain neurotransmitters that stimulate muscle contractions. One of the more common agents is baclofen.