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Is Quinine advisable for muscle cramps in the legs?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2004
Answered : 607 Questions
is quinine water or tablets good for muscle cramps?

i get cramps in my legs and lower back and sometimes my obliques or even under my ribcage when I am doing pilates especially--it is like i have electrolyte depletion or something
Fri, 27 Apr 2018 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Zotaj Antoneta 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
If other methods do not work than quinine can be tried- mostly due to its side effects

Detailed Answer:
Thank you for asking at healthcaremagic.

Quinine is an old drug mostly used for treatment of malaria and has also found some place in leg cramps treatment. Still official medical sites don't recommend it to be used routinely for leg cramps due to many side effects.

The most usual side effects are noise in the ears, impaired hearing, headache, vision changes, nausea, and the most important one is reduced platelets in the blood which might risk for hemorrhages like nose bleeds, stomach and bowel bleeding, skin bruises, etc and is some patients these can be massive and really be dangerous.

Because other methods with much less side effects can be tried quinine is generally left as the last one to try if the rest have not worked out.

Exercises to prevent the cramps and exercises while in a cramp can be recommended by a physiotherapist.
Also Ibuprofen and paracetamol to help with pain and help muscles relax can be tried.

Having the electrolytes checked in blood is recommended especially potassium, sodium and calcium. Having general check to see how is your sugar level, lipids, thyroid level, CBC, ERS, liver (ALT, bilirubin), Kidney (creatinine) might be recommended also.

Taking daily oral magnesium supplements is very helpful for some patients and is worth trying as it well tolerated in general.

I hope this is helpful and answers to your question but please feel free to reply in case more clarification is needed on this.

Kind regards,

Antoneta Zotaj, MD
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