The US RLS foundation held a webinar this week with Dr. Sergi Ferre, who published a paper last year on the role of the adenosine system in RLS and conducted a small study into the effects of the andi-platelet drug, dipyridamole, on RLS.
I have just listened to the webinar which is almost as dense and (to the non-scientific brain) as impenetrable as the paper. For those who wish to see a summary LotteM produced an excellent interpretation on here which should be discoverable by searching her name and perhaps the tag 'adenosine' or 'dipyridamole'. So far as I understood it there wasn't a lot that wasn't already in the paper and it is beyond my capabilities even to summarise his research. The paper that Dr. Ferre produced comprised a remarkably comprehensive description of the scientific understanding of RLS at present.
He is excited by the possibilites suggested by an existing trial based on his research which looked at the use of dipyridamole to treat RLS. He is hoping to stage a much larger double-blind study this year into the effects of dipyridamole on RLS. He stated that if the trial proves positive, he hopes soon to produce more potent and selective compounds than dipyridamole. His hope is that a dipyridamole-type treatment could be used in place of dopamine agonist drugs.
He stated that the initial data would need to be corroborated before dipyridamole could be recommended but stated that he was very enthusiastic about it. He was not asked specifically about the safety of dipyridamole (I wish someone had asked about the risk of internal bleeding) but in the Q and A section he was asked if he thought that doctors would start prescribing dipyridamole for RLS off-licence. He said that personally he could see no reason not to use dipyridamole, that it doesn't have very bad secondary effects - it has some secondary effects but not bad ones - and has been used for a long time as an anti-platelet. He also stated that the data of any patients using dipyridamole for RLS could possibly be added to his own.
Finally, he was asked if research is moving towards a cure. He said 'Of course it is'. He suggested that some time soon we will find new ways to overcome. The more we know about the pathogenesis the better - and he seems to know a LOT.