Psychiatry and Clinical Psychopharmacology
Original Article

Is restless legs syndrome related with depression/anxiety disorders or medications used in these disorders? A cross-sectional, clinic-based study


Department of Psychiatry, Kahramanmaraş Necip Fazıl City Hospital, Kahramanmaraş, Turkey


Department of Psychiatry, Başkent University Medical Faculty, Ankara, Turkey


Department of Psychiatry, Ankara Numune Training and Research Hospital, Ankara, Turkey


Department of Psychiatry, Ankara University School of Medicine, Ankara, Turkey

Psychiatry and Clinical Psychopharmacology 2019; 29: 832-839
DOI: 10.1080/24750573.2019.1673943
Read: 912 Downloads: 465 Published: 08 February 2021

Objective: The aim of this study is to investigate the frequency and severity of restless legs syndrome (RLS) in patients diagnosed with depression or anxiety disorder and the relationship of RLS with medications used in these disorders and clinical/sociodemographic characteristics of the patients.

Methods: Four hundred and fifty-four consecutive patients who were treated with medication for “Depressive Disorder” or “Anxiety Disorder” in our outpatient clinic were included in the study. Subjects were screened by International Restless Legs Syndrome Study Group (IRLSSG) scale, Hospital Anxiety Depression Scale. Patients who met the criteria of RLS diagnosis due to the RLS screening scale (n = 104) were interviewed in detail. Patients’ laboratory tests were performed to investigate medical conditions other than antidepressant/antipsychotic use known to be related with RLS and 40 (8.8%) of 104 patients were excluded from the study. The main study group consisted of 414 patients.

Results: The mean IRLSSG score of 64 patients diagnosed with RLS was 18.95 ± 5.11 (min: 7– max: 29), 7.8% of whom had mild and 55.1% had severe RLS. The incidence of RLS in patients receiving antidepressant treatment (n: 414) was significantly higher than the general population (15.5%). There were no significant difference neither between diagnostic groups (anxiety/ depression) nor individual antidepressants by means of RLS. Patients receiving combined treatment like SSRI + quetiapine, SSRI + mirtazapine or SSRI + trazodone scored 4.7 times higher on RLS scale.

Discussion: There was no significant difference by means of RLS diagnosis or severity of RLS in patients with a diagnosis of anxiety/depressive disorder. However antidepressant using patients’ RLS prevalence was higher than general population’s. It was noticed that patients who received combined drug treatment had a 4.7-fold increase in RLS. In conclusion; beginning with as possible as the least number and dose of psychotropic drugs when treating a patient with depression or anxiety disorder does not increase RLS risk as well as providing advantages such as reduced risk of drug interaction and side effects.

EISSN 2475-0581