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Similar to RLS, periodic movements of sleep or periodic limb movements (PLM) are repetitive movements of the lower extremities, usually a flexing of the ankle, during sleep. These movements have also been known to occur in the arms and axial muscles (trunk or abdomen). If these limb movements disrupt sleep to a certain level, a person may be diagnosed with Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD).
Patients with these limb movements, or perhaps their bed partner, may experience leg kicking or arm movements at night. These movements may either occur as repetitive periodic movements or may appear to be random. People with RLS usually have the limb movements that characterize PLMD during the night.
Studies show that PLMD is associated with uremia, anemia, arthritis, peripheral vascular disease, peripheral neuropathy, spinal cord lesions, antidepressants, and caffeine use.
Like RLS, treatment for PLMD often requires medications such as narcotics (oxycodone, Propozyphene, Methadone, Morphine), or more common medications such as dopamine agonists (Requip, Sinemet, Bromocriptine, Permax, Mirapex), or benzodiazepines (Temazepam, Clonazepam).