National Sleep Foundation

Chapter 7: Sleep-Related Movement Disorders

Treatment for Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD)

Treatment for Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD) involves avoiding caffeine and ensuring that the patient is consuming enough iron (low levels of iron can cause or worsen PLMD).13

Dopaminergic agents (e.g., levodopa and dopamine agonists) are recommended to treat severe PLMD, based on these agents’ efficacy in treating Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS).14  Few clinical trials have documented their efficacy in treating PLMD, however.15


13 Cleveland Clinic, Periodic Limb Movement Disorder, Cleveland: Cleveland Clinic, 2015. Available online at:
14 Hening W, Walters AS, Allen RP, et al. Impact, diagnosis, and treatment of restless legs syndrome (RLS) in a primary care population: the REST (RLS epidemiology, symptoms, and treatment) primary care study. Sleep Med. 2004;5:237-246.
15 Hornyak M, Feige B, Riemann D, Voderholzer U. Periodic leg movements in sleep and periodic limb movement disorder: prevalence, clinical significance and treatment. Sleep Med Rev. 2006;10:169-177.