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1.  Rotigotine transdermal system and evaluation of pain in patients with Parkinson’s disease: a post hoc analysis of the RECOVER study 
BMC Neurology  2014;14:42.
Background
Pain is a troublesome non-motor symptom of Parkinson’s disease (PD). The RECOVER (Randomized Evaluation of the 24-hour Coverage: Efficacy of Rotigotine; Clintrials.gov: NCT00474058) study demonstrated significant improvements in early-morning motor function (UPDRS III) and sleep disturbances (PDSS-2) with rotigotine transdermal system. Improvements were also reported on a Likert pain scale (measuring any type of pain). This post hoc analysis of RECOVER further evaluates the effect of rotigotine on pain, and whether improvements in pain may be attributable to benefits in motor function or sleep disturbance.
Methods
PD patients with unsatisfactory early-morning motor impairment were randomized to optimal-dose (up to 16 mg/24 h) rotigotine or placebo, maintained for 4 weeks. Pain was assessed in the early-morning using an 11-point Likert pain scale (rated average severity of pain (of any type) over the preceding 12 hours from 0 [no pain] to 10 [worst pain ever experienced]). Post hoc analyses for patients reporting ‘any’ pain (pain score ≥1) at baseline, and subgroups reporting ‘mild’ (score 1–3), and ‘moderate-to-severe’ pain (score ≥4) were performed. Likert pain scale change from baseline in rotigotine-treated patients was further analyzed based on a UPDRS III/PDSS-2 responder analysis (a responder defined as showing a ≥30% reduction in early morning UPDRS III total score or PDSS-2 total score). As post hoc analyses, all p values presented are exploratory.
Results
Of 267 patients with Likert pain data (178 rotigotine, 89 placebo), 187 (70%) reported ‘any’ pain; of these 87 (33%) reported ‘mild’, and 100 (37%) ‘moderate-to-severe’ pain. Change from baseline pain scores decreased with rotigotine compared with placebo in patients with ‘any’ pain (-0.88 [95% CI: -1.56, -0.19], p = 0.013), and in the subgroup with ‘moderate-to-severe’ pain (-1.38 [-2.44, -0.31], p = 0.012). UPDRS III or PDSS-2 responders showed greater improvement in pain than non-responders.
Conclusions
The results from this post hoc analysis of the RECOVER study suggest that pain was improved in patients with PD treated with rotigotine; this may be partly attributable to benefits in motor function and sleep disturbances. Prospective studies are warranted to investigate this potential benefit and the clinical relevance of these findings.
doi:10.1186/1471-2377-14-42
PMCID: PMC4016269  PMID: 24602411
Parkinson's disease; Pain; Rotigotine; Dopamine receptor agonist
2.  Novel SCARB2 mutation in action myoclonus-renal failure syndrome and evaluation of SCARB2 mutations in isolated AMRF features 
BMC Neurology  2011;11:134.
Background
Action myoclonus-renal failure syndrome is a hereditary form of progressive myoclonus epilepsy associated with renal failure. It is considered to be an autosomal-recessive disease related to loss-of-function mutations in SCARB2. We studied a German AMRF family, additionally showing signs of demyelinating polyneuropathy and dilated cardiomyopathy.
To test the hypothesis whether isolated appearance of individual AMRF syndrome features could be related to heterozygote SCARB2 mutations, we screened for SCARB2 mutations in unrelated patients showing isolated AMRF features.
Methods
In the AMRF family all exons of SCARB2 were analyzed by Sanger sequencing. The mutation screening of unrelated patients with isolated AMRF features affected by either epilepsy (n = 103, progressive myoclonus epilepsy or generalized epilepsy), demyelinating polyneuropathy (n = 103), renal failure (n = 192) or dilated cardiomyopathy (n = 85) was performed as high resolution melting curve analysis of the SCARB2 exons.
Results
A novel homozygous 1 bp deletion (c.111delC) in SCARB2 was found by sequencing three affected homozygous siblings of the affected family. A heterozygous sister showed generalized seizures and reduction of nerve conduction velocity in her legs. No mutations were found in the epilepsy, renal failure or dilated cardiomyopathy samples. In the polyneuropathy sample two individuals with demyelinating disease were found to be carriers of a SCARB2 frameshift mutation (c.666delCCTTA).
Conclusions
Our findings indicate that demyelinating polyneuropathy and dilated cardiomyopathy are part of the action myoclonus-renal failure syndrome. Moreover, they raise the possibility that in rare cases heterozygous SCARB2 mutations may be associated with PNP features.
doi:10.1186/1471-2377-11-134
PMCID: PMC3222607  PMID: 22032306
3.  Frequency of impulse control behaviours associated with dopaminergic therapy in restless legs syndrome 
BMC Neurology  2011;11:117.
Background
Low doses of dopamine agonists (DA) and levodopa are effective in the treatment of restless legs syndrome (RLS). A range of impulse control and compulsive behaviours (ICBs) have been reported following the use of DAs and levodopa in patients with Parkinson's disease. With this study we sought to assess the cross-sectional prevalence of impulse control behaviours (ICBs) in restless legs syndrome (RLS) and to determine factors associated with ICBs in a population cohort in Germany.
Methods
Several questionnaires based on validated and previously used instruments for assessment of ICBs were mailed out to patients being treated for RLS. Final diagnoses of ICBs were based on stringent diagnostic criteria after psychiatric interviews were performed.
Results
10/140 RLS patients of a clinical cohort (7.1%) were finally diagnosed with ICBs, 8 of 10 on dopamine agonist (DA) therapy, 2 of 10 on levodopa. 8 of the 10 affected patients showed more than one type of abnormal behaviour. Among those who responded to the questionnaires 6/140 [4.3%] revealed binge eating, 5/140 [3.6%] compulsive shopping, 3/140 [2.1%] pathological gambling, 3/140 [2.1%] punding, and 2/140 [1.4%] hypersexuality in psychiatric assessments. Among those who did not respond to questionnaires, 32 were randomly selected and interviewed: only 1 patient showed positive criteria of ICBs with compulsive shopping and binge eating. ICBs were associated with higher DA dose (p = 0.001), younger RLS onset (p = 0.04), history of experimental drug use (p = 0.002), female gender (p = 0.04) and a family history of gambling disorders (p = 0.02), which accounted for 52% of the risk variance.
Conclusion
RLS patients treated with dopaminergic agents and dopamine agonists in particular, should be forewarned of potential side effects. A careful history of risk factors should be taken.
doi:10.1186/1471-2377-11-117
PMCID: PMC3195705  PMID: 21955669
Restless legs syndrome; impulse control disorders; dopamine agonist; gambling; levodopa
4.  Algorithms for the diagnosis and treatment of restless legs syndrome in primary care 
BMC Neurology  2011;11:28.
Background
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a neurological disorder with a lifetime prevalence of 3-10%. in European studies. However, the diagnosis of RLS in primary care remains low and mistreatment is common.
Methods
The current article reports on the considerations of RLS diagnosis and management that were made during a European Restless Legs Syndrome Study Group (EURLSSG)-sponsored task force consisting of experts and primary care practioners. The task force sought to develop a better understanding of barriers to diagnosis in primary care practice and overcome these barriers with diagnostic and treatment algorithms.
Results
The barriers to diagnosis identified by the task force include the presentation of symptoms, the language used to describe them, the actual term "restless legs syndrome" and difficulties in the differential diagnosis of RLS.
Conclusion
The EURLSSG task force reached a consensus and agreed on the diagnostic and treatment algorithms published here.
doi:10.1186/1471-2377-11-28
PMCID: PMC3056753  PMID: 21352569
5.  Treatment of moderate to severe restless legs syndrome: 2-year safety and efficacy of rotigotine transdermal patch 
BMC Neurology  2010;10:86.
Background
Rotigotine is a unique dopamine agonist with activity across D1 through D5 receptors as well as select adrenergic and serotonergic sites. This study reports the 2-year follow-up safety and efficacy data of an ongoing open-label multicenter extension study (NCT00498186) of transdermal rotigotine in patients with moderate to severe restless legs syndrome (RLS).
Methods
Patients received a once-daily patch application of an individually optimized dose of rotigotine between 0.5 mg/24 h to 4 mg/24 h. Safety assessments included adverse events (AEs) and efficacy was measured by the International RLS Study Group Severity Rating Scale (IRLS), RLS-6 scales and Clinical Global Impression (CGI). Quality of life (QoL) was measured by QoL-RLS.
Results
Of 310 patients who completed a 6-week placebo-controlled trial (SP709), 295 (mean age 58 ± 10 years, 66% females) were included in the open-label trial SP710. 64.7% (190/295 patients) completed the 2-year follow-up; 29 patients discontinued during the second year. Mean daily rotigotine dose after 2 years was 2.93 ± 1.14 mg/24 h with a 2.9% dose increase from year 1. Rotigotine was generally well tolerated. The rate of typical dopaminergic side effects, nausea and fatigue, was low (0.9% and 2.3%, respectively) during the second year; application site reactions were frequent but lower than in year 1 (16.4% vs. 34.5%). The IRLS total score improved from baseline of SP709 (27.8 ± 5.9) by 17.2 ± 9.2 in year 2 completers. Similar improvements were observed in RLS-6 scales, CGI scores and QoL-RLS. The responder rate in the CGI change item 2 ("much" and "very much" improved) was 95% after year 2.
Conclusions
Transdermal rotigotine is an efficacious and well-tolerated long-term treatment option for patients with moderate to severe RLS with a high retention rate during 2 years of therapy.
Trial registration
NCT00498186
doi:10.1186/1471-2377-10-86
PMCID: PMC2958158  PMID: 20920156
6.  Monthly intravenous methylprednisolone in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis - reduction of enhancing lesions, T2 lesion volume and plasma prolactin concentrations 
BMC Neurology  2006;6:19.
Background
Intravenous methylprednisolone (IV-MP) is an established treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS) relapses, accompanied by rapid, though transient reduction of gadolinium enhancing (Gd+) lesions on brain MRI. Intermittent IV-MP, alone or with immunomodulators, has been suggested but insufficiently studied as a strategy to prevent relapses.
Methods
In an open, single-cross-over study, nine patients with relapsing-remitting MS (RR-MS) underwent cranial Gd-MRI once monthly for twelve months. From month six on, they received a single i.v.-infusion of 500 mg methylprednisolone (and oral tapering for three days) after the MRI. Primary outcome measure was the mean number of Gd+ lesions during treatment vs. baseline periods; T2 lesion volume and monthly plasma concentrations of cortisol, ACTH and prolactin were secondary outcome measures. Safety was assessed clinically, by routine laboratory and bone mineral density measurements. Soluble immune parameters (sTNF-RI, sTNF-RII, IL1-ra and sVCAM-1) and neuroendocrine tests (ACTH test, combined dexamethasone/CRH test) were additionally analyzed.
Results
Comparing treatment to baseline periods, the number of Gd+ lesions/scan was reduced in eight of the nine patients, by a median of 43.8% (p = 0.013, Wilcoxon). In comparison, a pooled dataset of 83 untreated RR-MS patients from several studies, selected by the same clinical and MRI criteria, showed a non-significant decrease by a median of 14% (p = 0.32). T2 lesion volume decreased by 21% during treatment (p = 0.001). Monthly plasma prolactin showed a parallel decline (p = 0.027), with significant cross-correlation with the number of Gd+ lesions. Other hormones and immune system variables were unchanged, as were ACTH test and dexamethasone-CRH test. Treatment was well tolerated; routine laboratory and bone mineral density were unchanged.
Conclusion
Monthly IV-MP reduces inflammatory activity and T2 lesion volume in RR-MS.
doi:10.1186/1471-2377-6-19
PMCID: PMC1501038  PMID: 16719908

Results 1-6 (6)