Q&A: Will drinking tonic water get rid of leg cramps?

Consumer Reports News: December 21, 2009 06:38 AM

I’ve heard that drinking tonic water can get rid of leg cramps. Is that true? —M.S.B., Henderson, Nev.

Probably not. Tonic water contains quinine, a malaria drug that’s also sometimes prescribed off-label to relieve nighttime leg cramps. But the Food and Drug Administration has warned against that use. And you’d have to drink liters of tonic water daily for weeks to get the amount of quinine usually used for cramps. What’s more, large amounts can cause blood disorders and have been linked to arrhythmias. A better approach if you get a leg cramp is to stretch and massage the affected muscle until the cramp goes away, usually within a few minutes.

Take a look at the things that can make you more likely to get leg cramps  and find out which treatments work best (subscribers only). 

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