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Journal Articles Neuromodulation Year : 2022

Noninvasive Vagus Nerve Stimulation: A New Therapeutic Approach for Pharmacoresistant Restless Legs Syndrome

Abstract

Aims: This work aimed to study the effect of noninvasive vagus nerve stimulation on severe restless legs syndrome (RLS) resistant to pharmacotherapy. Materials and Methods: Patients with severe pharmacoresistant RLS were recruited from a tertiary care sleep center. Intervention was one-hour weekly sessions of transauricular vagus nerve stimulation (tVNS) in the left cymba concha, for eight weeks. The primary outcome measure was the score on the International Restless Legs Rating Scale (IRLS); secondary outcome measures were quality of life (Restless Legs Syndrome Quality of Life scale [RLSQOL]), mood disorders using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale subscale for depression (HADD) and Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale subscale for anxiety (HADA), and objective sleep latency, sleep duration, efficiency, and leg movement time measured by actigraphy. Results: Fifteen patients, 53% male, aged mean 62.7 ± 12.3 years with severe RLS, reduced quality of life, and symptoms of anxiety and depression, were included. The IRLS improved from baseline to session eight: IRLS 31.9 ± 2.9 vs 24.6 ± 5.9 p = 0.0003. Of these participants, 27% (4/15) had a total response with a decrease below an IRLS score of 20; 40% (6/15) a partial response with an improvement in the IRLS > 5 but an IRLS above 20; and 33% (5/15) were nonresponders. After tVNS, quality of life improved (RLSQOL 49.3 ± 18.1 vs 80.0 ± 19.6 p = 0.0005), as did anxiety (HADA 8.9 ± 5.4 vs 6.2 ± 5.0 p = 0.001) and depression (HADD 5.2 ± 4.5 vs 4.0 ± 4.0 p = 0.01). No significant change was found in actigraphic outcome measures. Conclusions: In this pilot study, tVNS improved the symptoms of RLS in 66% of participants (10/15) with severe pharmacoresistant RLS, with concomitant improvements in quality of life and mood. Randomized controlled trials evaluating therapeutic efficacy of tVNS in RLS are needed to confirm these promising findings.
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Dates and versions

hal-03921967 , version 1 (04-01-2023)

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Sarah Hartley, Guillaume Bao, Marine Zagdoun, Sylvain Chevallier, Frédéric Lofaso, et al.. Noninvasive Vagus Nerve Stimulation: A New Therapeutic Approach for Pharmacoresistant Restless Legs Syndrome. Neuromodulation, 2022, ⟨10.1016/j.neurom.2022.10.046⟩. ⟨hal-03921967⟩
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