Published: December 2010

Quinine is not indicated for nocturnal leg cramps

Prescriber Update 31(4): 34
December 2010

Prescribers are reminded that quinine is no longer indicated for the treatment of leg cramps in New Zealand.1

CARM continues to receive reports of adverse events associated with the use of quinine for leg cramps, indicating that a signi.cant number of patients are still being prescribed quinine for this off-label indication.

The safety of quinine was reviewed by the MARC in 2006 following local and international reports of thrombocytopenia after using this medicine for nocturnal leg cramps. An absence of data to support ef.cacy and clear evidence of harm led the MARC to conclude that the bene. t-risk pro. le of quinine no longer supported an indication for the treatment of leg cramps.

The indication for prevention and treatment of nocturnal leg cramps was subsequently removed from quinine containing products in 2007. Quinine is now only indicated for the treatment of malaria and myotonia.

Similar changes to the indications for quinine have been made in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

  1. Medsafe. 2007. Quinine - not for leg cramps anymore. Prescriber Update. 28(1): 2-6.