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Data presented at the SLEEP2019 meeting support a strong association between restless leg syndrome (RLS) and sleep bruxism (SB; also known as teeth grinding). Both are movement disorders and parasomnias and this connection suggests that bruxism might respond to treatment with dopamine agonists (DA). Of 676 individuals with RLS, 241 (35.7%) had SB and 105 of 241 (43.6%) noted improvement of SB after they had been treated with dopamine agonists (DA).
In this retrospective uncontrolled unblinded study, individuals who met the diagnostic criteria for RLS answered a 35-question survey that included symptoms, comorbidities, family history, and demographics; medical chart review was also done to complete and clarify the data collected.
Sleep bruxism (SB) affects approximately 10% of people and can cause insomnia, temporomandibular joint syndrome, facial pain, and gum and teeth problems. Treatment with occlusive devices does not stop SB or reduce all complications and no pharmacologic treatments are available yet.
These data suggest that SB may be a manifestation of RLS. The authors of this retrospective uncontrolled and unblinded study suggests that a randomize double-blind controlled trial be conducted to test this hypothesis.
These data were presented at SLEEP2019, the 33rd annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC (APSS), a joint venture of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society.
Peter McAllister, MD
Jeffrey L. Cummings, MD, ScD
Douglas W. Scharre, MD