FDA: Don't Use Quinine for Leg Cramps

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by kjfms, Dec 20, 2006.

  1. kjfms

    kjfms Member

    From WEB MD NEWS

    FDA Cracks Down on Unapproved Quinine Drugs, Cites Problems Including Deaths. -- By Miranda Hitti

    WebMD Medical News

    Reviewed By Louise Chang, MD on Tuesday, December 12, 2006

    Dec. 12, 2006 -- The FDA is telling people not to use the malaria drug quinine for leg cramps, citing potentially deadly side effects.

    The FDA issued the advice today and ordered all unapproved drugs containing quinine off the market within 60 days.

    Qualaquin, the only FDA-approved quinine drug, can be used to treat certain types of malaria; the new order doesn't change that.

    But quinine is also often prescribed to treat leg cramps. That unapproved use is too risky, says the FDA.

    Quinine carries extensive warnings about possible side effects, including:

    Potentially serious interactions with other drugs

    *Abnormal heart rhythms

    *Thrombocytopenia, a blood platelet disorder that can cause hemorrhage or clotting problems

    *Severe hypersensitivity reactions

    Since 1969, the FDA has received 665 reports of serious adverse events tied to quinine, including 93 deaths.

    Quinine has a narrow margin between effective and toxic doses, notes the FDA.

    The doses for Qualaquin have the FDA's approval for treatment of certain types of malaria.

    But the FDA hasn't reviewed dosing for unapproved quinine drugs.

    "We believe unapproved quinine products represent a serious health risk because of the widespread use of this product for treating leg cramps," Steven Galson, MD, MPH, says in the FDA news release. Galson directs the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

    "Quinine needs to be dosed carefully, and FDA-approved labeling reflects the fact that the risks associated with the use of this drug for treatment of leg cramps outweigh the benefits," Galson says.


    SOURCE: News release, FDA.

    "Since 1969, the FDA has received 665 reports of serious adverse events tied to quinine, including 93 deaths."

    They [FDA] took their time on this one didn't they? Go figure...

    Thanks for reading,

    Karen :)

  2. kjfms

    kjfms Member

    Sorry missed this one too. I keep forgetting to check.

    I am glad you didn't take it. Hope you are feeling better. Sorry I got to go see my mother so haven't got a lot of time.

    I will talk more later.

    Love ya Merry Christmas,

    Karen :)
  3. alaska3355

    alaska3355 New Member

    Thanks for the info- I'm letting my dad know, because I know he's taken it in the past for leg cramps and now he's diabetic. So he doesn't need to mess up the meds he's already on. Thanks again! Terri
  4. kjfms

    kjfms Member

    Hi Terri -- I am so sorry about you dad and hope he will remain stable. How awful diabetes is such a rough disease so hard for the person who has it and the entire family. Bless you heart I know you worry for him so much -- I will keep good thoughts and prayers for you both. Happy Holidays :)

    Hi asatrump -- Your suggestion sounds very interesting and simple and money wise to me. Have you ever made a separate thread for it. I think it would make a great one and probably help a lot of people here and save them a lot of money and hey that is always a good thing in my world :)

    Maybe you could title it something like "Low Cost Drug-Free Leg Cramp Solution" or something along those lines to really grab every one's attention -- just a thought.

    I am going to try it myself and thank you so much for sharing I do appreciate it. Merry Christmas :)

    Hi jaminhealth -- I am very sorry for your daughter's situation it must be very difficult for her and you and indeed for your entire family.

    I have read that most all Quinine Ototoxicity is reversible and I do hope your daughter is one that will.

    I wish her the best of luck in accepting her addiction and moving on with her life. I hope she has great success with the progress of her rehabilitation :)

    Thanks to all for reading,

    Karen :)

  5. TKE

    TKE New Member

    I wonder if the amount of quinine in tonic water would also be considered harmful?

    Our family doc prescribed this for my Huz who gets terrible leg cramps since he had surgical castration for cancer. However he was told to just drink a few ounces of tonic water, as it contains quinine. My Huz gets massive groin muscle cramps that knock him to the floor screaming in pain. Muscle relaxers do not help at all. Could be because he's super chemical sensative & most meds he can't take due to severe side effects.

  6. u34rb

    u34rb New Member


    Perhaps your doctor prescribed an ABX because s/he thought there was an infection, even though your urine sample was "normal". That is, an infection NOT involving the bladder.

    In other words, had it been 'abnormal' s/he might have prescribed a different ABX or a different dose.

    Has your bladder problem cleared up anyway?
  7. lurkernomore

    lurkernomore New Member

    I have recently been diagnosed with Sjogren's along with my already dx'd fibro and diabetes. My rheumy also just called in a script for Plaquenil, an old anti-malarial drug which has quinine in it.

    I have not started it yet because I want to wait until after the holidays, just in case it has any side effects. I do not want to feel worse anytime, but especially now.

    Now I am wondering if I want to begin the Plaquenil at all! I need relief from the Sjogren's but don't want anymore complications from another med added. I am grateful to see this because I am going to be very inquisitive and see what I can learn from both rheumy and pharmacist before starting this med. Thank you for this info!
  8. momofgjc

    momofgjc New Member

    Well, isn't this nice to hear! My dr put me on this a couple years ago. I am glad that it made me sick and I had to stop taking it after a couple weeks!
  9. MelaC

    MelaC New Member

    Hi Karen,
    Thanks for sharing this info, I have shown it to hubby as he uses it for leg cramps.

    Your bar of soap idea would really be a simple solution but there is no ways my hubby will be able to sleep with it under the sheet. He hates it if there is even a crease so that is out for me.

    I know magnesium is also good and keep some handy.

    I am sure there will be many out there who will find your suggestion the solution to there leg cramp problem.

  10. survivor13

    survivor13 New Member

    Hi all
    I have been taking quinine bi sulphate for a number of years to combat excruciating nighttime leg cramps. i have been so much better since taking it and my leg cramps disappeared,still get the occasional titches and muscle spasms but they are not painful,well for hubby mainly as if they twitch and jump he usually gets booted in (POOR SOUL) so i dont know if this evidence against quinine is totally conclusive or if the bi sulphate bit makes a difference but it certainly has made my sleep time far more comfortable
    yippeeeeeeeeeee xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  11. hermitlady

    hermitlady Member

    My 82 yr old mother suffers from terrible nighttime leg cramps. She was prescribed Quinine in the past but only took it a couple of times cuz it made her feel lousy.

    At Xmas when I was visiting her, I bought her a 6 pack of tonic water to try. She swears it's helped quite a bit. She mixes 1/4 cup of it w some orange juice and drinks it before bed. She says the plain tonic water is so nasty that she had to mix it w something!

    She also heard of the bar of soap remedy and tried it w no luck. We know an older man who swears that the bar of Irish Spring soap works wonders for him tho. Whatever works!!!

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