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One hundred and seventy four patients suffering from the restless legs syndrome were examined in a double blind, between patient, placebo controlled study in general practice for five weeks to investigate the effects of carbamazepine and placebo on the syndrome. The syndrome was more common among middle aged women with relatively low systolic blood pressure. The median haemoglobin concentration was about average for the population, but the severity of the symptoms seemed to increase with decreasing concentrations of haemoglobin. Both placebo and carbamazepine showed a significant therapeutic effect (p less than 0.01). Carbamazepine was significantly more effective than placebo (p less than or equal to 0.03). The significant therapeutic effect of placebo in restless legs showed that only double blind controlled trials can confirm the efficacy of suggested treatments.