Muscle cramps in cirrhosis: the therapeutic value of quinine. Is it underused?

Vincenza Calvaruso, Pinelopi Manousou, Corbani, Ilias Xirouchakis, Vincenza Calvaruso, Andrew K. Burroughs

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12 Citazioni (Scopus)


Muscle cramps are a common and recurring symptom in patients with cirrhosis. Although, the pathophysiology has not been specifically studied in cirrhosis, this is thought to be the same for cramps in general, originating in the motorneurone, with high frequency firing of motor unit action potentials. However precise pathophysiological mechanisms are not known. Risk factors in cirrhosis have been little studied. Neither aetiology, nor pre-ascitic or ascitic stage, nor electrolyte disturbances, nor use of diuretic therapy has been found to have a statistical association with cramps in patients with cirrhosis. Effective treatments, from this literature review, are albumin, which however is expensive and has little applicability as preventative therapy and oral quinine or quinidine. Quinine is little used in Italy but licensed in the UK for the therapy of muscle cramps. There is evidence for the efficacy of quinine in patients without cirrhosis and in healthy subjects. In cirrhosis quinidine (isomer of quinine) has also been shown to be effective versus placebo. Its major effect is in the prevention of cramps. More widespread use of quinine and further studies are needed, particularly in Italy and other countries, in which its use has been limited, as it is effective therapy in many patients with cirrhosis.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Numero di pagine6
RivistaDigestive and Liver Disease
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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  • ???subjectarea.asjc.2700.2715???


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