Q. My wife suffers from debilitating leg cramps. For years she has relied on quinine. It works like a charm and she has never experienced any side effects.

She has just discovered that she can no longer get her prescription filled at the pharmacy and is feeling desperate. We’ve heard that quinine is available in Canada and only costs about $35 for 100 pills. How can we locate a reliable Canadian pharmacy?

A. The FDA has made it almost impossible to get quinine for leg cramps. Although many people have used quinine safely for years, others are so vulnerable to its toxic effects that the FDA has determined the drug is too dangerous except to treat malaria.

Although quinine is still available in Canada with a doctor’s prescription, you could run afoul of U.S. Customs and the FDA. We have prepared a Guide to Saving Money on Medicine that discusses Canadian online drugstores, but your wife may want to consider non-drug approaches listed in our Guide to Leg Pain. To order both, please send $4 to in check or money order with a long (no. 10) stamped (58 cents), self-addressed envelope: Graedons' People's Pharmacy, No. RLCA-59, P. O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027. They can also be purchased from our Web site at www.peoplespharmacy.com.

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  1. Libby

    I was also using quinine.They changed me to kDur.Have you tirwd it/HAVE SEVERAL BOTTLES OF EACH.try the kdur.

  2. Janice

    A substitution for quinine is qualaquin cap 324 mg. This is what our insurance drug company recommended when they first notified me of the inability to reorder quinine. It works–not quite as well as quinine.

  3. janet miller

    How about buying a bottle of tonic water as that contains quinine? I find it helps with restless legs, cramps etc. when I’ve had it in the form of a drink i.e. vodka and tonic

  4. Phil Hahn

    Years ago before it had a name , RLS just drove me nuts. I dropped by a healthfood store and bought some vitamin E. I started taking 1200 IU of vitamin E every night with my dinner, and my leg problem disappeared almost over night. As a side benifit it cleared up my bowel problems. Two birds with one stone, and it still works

  5. Ed

    Had the same problem with leg cramps that even quinine pills wouldn’t help. Numerous opinions about which mineral/vitamin I was lacking. Tried several different ones, nothing worked. Finally started taking multi vitamin tablets daily. Pain free for past two years

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