Meds & Nighttime Leg Cramps

By Gretchen Bolander

Published 02/27 2014 06:31PM

Updated 02/27 2014 10:30PM

Night time leg cramps may last for just a few minutes... or could bother you for hours. And in some cases, they can be caused by medications you're taking to treat unrelated medical issues.

"Leg cramps are an involuntary muscle tightening and are usually seen at night when youre going to bed or waking up and is sometimes painful. Can affect the thigh, the calf muscles and also sometimes the feet." Freeman QuickMeds Pharmacist Brian Workman says medication like diuretics can be to blame. "There are basically 2 classes of diuretics that are the culprit: the short acting loop diuretics and the thiazide diuretics." Both can deplete needed electrolytes. "Because the muscles rely on certain electrolytes to maintain their rigor and tone so if you get an increase or decrease in these, that can cause muscle cramps."

But the list doesn't stop there. Workman says nighttime leg cramps can also be associated with broncho dilators used to treat COPD and cholesterol drugs like statins and fibrates. "Go ahead and see your doctor, see if there's any of these medications causing those leg cramps because there are alternatives."

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