Question: I have leg cramps at night and can't sleep. I’ve heard quinine can help, but that it can be dangerous. What do you think?
Dr. Hibberd's answer:
Quinine is not to be used for leg cramps. There are very few exceptions to this, and they all need to be determined by your doctor. Sometimes cramps are caused by vigorous exercise, but other conditions that are potentially serious can cause nighttime leg cramps.
You must seek a doctor's assessment for your condition. Sometimes easily treatable electrolyte and vascular conditions cause these symptoms and the remedies are often simple. But if you don't seek proper treatment now, damage and the progression of disease can lead to more complicated problems and even more uncomfortable symptoms.
If you smoke, stop now. Call your doctor for an evaluation and once the underlying disorder has been corrected, you won't take quinine again.
I know of patients who have refused to follow this advice, and some of them unfortunately now are on renal dialysis or are minus a limb or two because they ignored the early signs of internal blood, electrolyte disorders, or advanced vascular disease. Please arrange to see your doctor soon.
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