The prevalence of restless legs syndrome is much higher in people with multiple sclerosis (MS) than in healthy controls, according to a systematic review and meta-analysis of the literature.

“Our updated systematic review strengthens the evidence of the increased risk of [restless legs syndrome] amongst [people with MS],” wrote the authors of the study, which was published in the journal Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders.

The aim of the meta-analysis was to provide updated information on the prevalence and clinical characteristics of restless legs syndrome in patients with MS, as well as to clarify factors related to restless legs syndrome.

Continue Reading

Read more about MS epidemiology

To this aim, Asiye Tuba Ozdogar and Alon Kalron PhD, PT, searched Medline (PubMed), Scopus, and Embase through to 2021 using the keywords “restless legs syndrome” or “RLS” and “multiple sclerosis” or “MS”. This way, they identified 9 case-controlled studies and 10 cross-sectional studies.

In these studies, the mean prevalence of restless legs syndrome was 27.5% in the MS population, ranging from a minimum of 13.2% to a maximum of 65.1%.

When they focused on the case-controlled studies, the authors found that the pooled prevalence of restless legs syndrome was much higher in people with MS than in healthy controls.

Most studies did not find a significant relationship between restless legs syndrome and disability, the duration and type of MS, or the age and gender of the patient.

According to the authors, although these findings support the evidence of a higher risk of restless legs syndrome in MS patients, data are lacking on MS characteristics that may increase the risk of restless legs syndrome.

Restless legs syndrome is a sensory-motor disease described by an uncomfortable sensation in the legs that leads to an uncontrollable urge to move them. 


Ozdogar AT, Kalron A. Restless legs syndrome in people with multiple sclerosis: an updated systematic review and meta-analyses. Mult Scler Relat Disord. 2021;22;56:103275. doi:10.1016/j.msard.2021.103275