Open Access Open Badges Research article

Transdermal rotigotine for the perioperative management of restless legs syndrome

Birgit Högl1*, Wolfgang H Oertel2, Erwin Schollmayer3 and Lars Bauer3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Neurology, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria

2 Department of Neurology, Philipps University, Marburg, Germany

3 UCB Biosciences GmbH, Monheim, Germany

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BMC Neurology 2012, 12:106  doi:10.1186/1471-2377-12-106

Published: 25 September 2012



Immobilisation, blood loss, sleep deficiency, and (concomitant) medications during perioperative periods might lead to acute exacerbation of symptoms in patients with the restless legs syndrome (RLS). Continuous transdermal delivery of the dopamine agonist rotigotine provides stable plasma levels over 24 h and may provide RLS patients with a feasible treatment option for perioperative situations. To assess the feasibility of use of rotigotine transdermal patch for the perioperative management of moderate to severe RLS, long-term data of an open-label extension of a rotigotine dose-finding study were retrospectively reviewed.


The data of all 295 patients who had entered the 5-year study were screened independently by two reviewers for the occurrence of surgical interventions during the study period. The following data were included in this post-hoc analysis: patient age, sex, surgical intervention and outcome, duration of hospital stay, rotigotine maintenance dose at the time of surgery, rotigotine dose adjustment, and continuation/discontinuation of rotigotine treatment. All parameters were analysed descriptively. No pre-specified efficacy assessments (e.g. IRLS scores) were available for the perioperative period.


During the study period, 61 surgical interventions were reported for 52 patients (median age, 63 years; 67% female); the majority of patients (85%) had one surgical intervention. The mean rotigotine maintenance dose at time of surgery was 3.1 ± 1.1 mg/24 h. For most interventions (95%), rotigotine dosing regimens were maintained during the perioperative period. Administration was temporarily suspended in one patient and permanently discontinued in another two. The majority (96%) of the patients undergoing surgery remained in the study following the perioperative period and 30 of these patients (61%) completed the 5-year study.


Although the data were obtained from a study which was not designed to assess rotigotine use in the perioperative setting, this post-hoc analysis suggests that treatment with rotigotine transdermal patch can be maintained during the perioperative period in the majority of patients and may allow for uninterrupted alleviation of RLS symptoms.

Trial Registration

The 5-year rotigotine extension study is registered with, identifier NCT00498186.