Overall self-perceived health in Restless legs treated with intrathecal morphine

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Restless legs syndrome (RLS) has a high prevalence in the general population. Treatment with intrathecal morphine has been shown to be successful in a small number of patients. Our aim was to quantify the effect on RLS-related symptoms, health and quality of life in three patients treated with intrathecal morphine.

Materials and Methods

Three patients with medically refractory RLS received an implanted pump for delivery of intrathecal morphine. Severity of RLS and self-assessed health were rated using the International Restless Legs Syndrome Study Group (IRLSSG) rating scale and the Short Form health survey (SF-36). Assessments were made preoperatively and after 6 months of follow-up.


Preoperatively two patients had very severe RLS, scoring 35 and 36 on the IRLSSG rating scale, and one patient had severe RLS (score, 26). All three patients were free of symptoms of RLS post-operatively and also at the 6-month follow-up. The daily doses of intrathecal morphine ranged from 73 to 199 μg. Results from the SF-36 health survey showed that all three patients had a better physical health compared to before surgery.


Intrathecal morphine may be efficient in the treatment for medically refractory RLS. All three patients became completely free of symptoms, and there was also improvement in self-perceived overall health.

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