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Increased prevalence of restless legs syndrome in patients with Crohn’s disease

Hoek, Patrick D.a; Smits, Marcel G.b; de Roos, Nicole M.c; Rijsman, Roselyne M.d; Witteman, Ben J.M.a

European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology: August 2015 - Volume 27 - Issue 8 - p 951–955
doi: 10.1097/MEG.0000000000000386
Original Articles: Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

Objective To determine (a) the incidence of restless legs syndrome (RLS) in patients with Crohn’s disease (CD), (b) whether and how the occurrence and severity of RLS is related to severity of CD, and (c) how RLS influences the quality of life of CD patients.

Basic methods We carried out a cross-sectional questionnaire study in a random selection of 144 CD patients and 80 controls. Differences were calculated using a χ 2-test (categorical data), an independent T-test (continuous data, normal distribution), or a Mann–Whitney U-test (continuous data, non-normal distribution). Logistic regression analysis was carried out to establish the relation between CD and RLS after adjusting for risk factors.

Main results The prevalence of RLS was 25.7% (37/144) in CD patients compared with 12.5% (10/80) in the control group (P=0.02). CD patients using caffeine and patients with arthralgias had a higher risk for RLS. A higher score on the modified Harvey Bradshaw Index and CD-related surgery were also associated with a higher risk for RLS. CD-related surgery was also associated with a more severe course of RLS. Patients and controls with RLS had a lower score on ‘physical functioning’, one of the subcategories of the RAND-36 quality-of-life questionnaire.

Principal conclusion RLS occurs more frequently in patients with CD compared with healthy individuals. A more severe course of CD seems to be associated with a higher risk for RLS. The presence of RLS has a negative influence on quality of life, mainly interfering with physical activities of daily life.

Divisions of aGastroenterology

bNeurology and Sleep-Wake Disorders and Chronobiology, Hospital ‘Gelderse Vallei’, Ede

cDivision of Human Nutrition, Wageningen University, Wageningen

dDivision of Neurology and Center for Sleep and Wake Disorders, MCH-Westeinde Hospital, The Hague, The Netherlands

Correspondence to Ben J.M. Witteman, MD, PhD, Division of Gastroenterology, Hospital ‘Gelderse Vallei’, Willy Brandtlaan 10, 6716 RP Ede, The Netherlands Tel: +31 318 434147; fax: +31 318 435483; e-mail:

Received February 11, 2015

Accepted April 9, 2015

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.