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Topic: Leg Cramps with Femara?.....

Forum: Hormonal Therapy - Before, During and After —

Risks and benefits, side effects, and costs of anti-estrogen medications. Note: Please remember that there are good experiences and bad with ALL treatments and this is a safe place to share YOUR experience, not to be influenced or influence others.

Posted on: Jan 2, 2008 10:01PM

Susan1120 wrote:

Hi Ladies,

 I am 2 months into Femara and Eligard (Lupron). The Hot Flashes are back! I am having lower back pain and front pelvic pain both of these are normally when I first wake up. Last night I flipped and flopped all night like a fish! Back hurt all night long. Also the past 4 nights I keep getting leg cramps. I keep reading but everything is connected to Tamoxifen, so I am curious if anyone on Femara has had leg cramps. I go for herceptin tomorrow and I plan on asking about those and the front pelvic pain. Also after tomorrow just 2 more herceptin and I am done!! Laughing

Thank you for any input.

Love to all,


Dx 11/21/2006, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+
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Jan 2, 2008 10:08PM BMD wrote:

Susan-I have been on Femara for almost 1 year. Everyone is different but for me most of the bad SE's happened within the first few months. Sleep has always been an issue for me but I do think it was worse during the first few months. Joint pain was the worse then to but I still have it now when I get up from sleeping or sitting for a long time. I don't remember any actual cramps though.

I just really think everyone has their own reactions to these drugs. You are still getting other drugs too so they may be reacting to each other. I hope your onc has some answers for you tomorrow.

We are all in God's caring hands, BrendaBMD Dx 7/14/2006, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIA, 0/10 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jan 2, 2008 10:20PM - edited Mar 19, 2008 12:33PM by TenderIsOurMight

Well, I've had pretty much constant nightly calf cramps while on it's kissing cousin Arimidex. Even had episodes of frank in turning of my toes (called pedospasm, yikes).

I finally got with the program and followed the kind ladies advice here by ensuring I took my calcium, magnesium and vitamin D. It's too early to tell.

Tonic water has quanine which often helps with the cramps. But I didn't use it.

Advil did seem to help when the pain was bad. One at night on occasion.

Also heating pad prior to sleep and gentle stretching.

Hope you get some relief.

It cannot be emphasized too strongly that treatment of each patient is a highly individualized matter. (FDA-approved labeling for warfarin (Coumadin) NDA 9-218/5-105)
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Jan 2, 2008 10:34PM Susan1120 wrote:

Thank you BMD and Tender (haha loved the kissin cousins)

Isn't this just a wonderful experience we have to go thru? LOL NOT!!

Tender I didn't get my period this month either, so I am figuring everything is working as it should. Just hoping nothing comes falling out from the netherland area! Wink

I am getting me a dove soap bar for under my sheet and gonna try that! Alot of women swear by it for cramps. Or perhaps I may need to get 2 seeing as I cramp in both calf areas. At least if I wake up in bubbles I will know if I am becoming incontinent! <giggle>

Again thank you BOTH for your input!



Dx 11/21/2006, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+
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Jan 2, 2008 10:40PM - edited Mar 19, 2008 01:06PM by TenderIsOurMight

That's too funny, Susan!

I wonder if our dear Joan suggested the Dove soap bar under the sheet. Maybe it lubricates the toes and feet incase they cramp too. However, I happen to know she flatly rejected my idea of Crisco anywhere near a bedroom (long story, earlier post).

Loved the bubbles! Tiny bubbles, wasn't that a song?


It cannot be emphasized too strongly that treatment of each patient is a highly individualized matter. (FDA-approved labeling for warfarin (Coumadin) NDA 9-218/5-105)
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Jan 7, 2008 11:41AM arco wrote:

My wife had thigh pain, foot pain, hip pain at different times all through her 5+ years on Femara. She did a lot of exercise and then also got various pain killers added to her arsenal of pills. Not an easy road..

Wife with Stage IV, dx 2001 ER+PR+
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Jan 7, 2008 12:03PM Rosemary44 wrote:


Ask your Dr. if its ok to take calcium, magnesium and potassium.  Those 3 will usually take away the leg cramps, with drinking extra filtered water throughout the day.   It will be better to take the magnesium separately from the calcium.  2 hours apart, and eat more foods high in potassium.   Cramps should vanish if you get the dose right for yourself.  How much water are you actually drinking each day?  Coffee doesn't count.

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Jan 8, 2008 11:42PM Susan1120 wrote:

Hi Suzy,

 My aunt was the first to tell me about this, then I am also on the Komen boards and it has been recommended there also. You put it under the bottom sheet of your bed around your calf area and if you cramp you rub legs on it and it stops them.

 I just bought a new bedtopper so I put my soap in a pillowcase and sleep with it in legs reach every night. So far I have not had any cramps since my post. I did increase potassium by diet, bananas etc.

Also ALL I drink anymore is water. A little juice here and there but mostly water.

 Hey I suggest you put a bar in a pillow case and if your hands cramp try rubbing and see if it helps. You will have to report back on this though because you will be a first! I wish you the best!

Susan McD

Dx 11/21/2006, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+
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Jan 8, 2008 11:44PM Susan1120 wrote:

Hi Arco,

Is your wife done with Femara now? How about her memory did she forget ALOT? How is she doing now?

Thank you so much for your input,


Dx 11/21/2006, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+
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Jan 8, 2008 11:45PM Susan1120 wrote:

OHH dear Tender,

Yes Tiny Bubbles is a song! LOL I will be singing it if I ever wake up in bubbles!

Love you,


Dx 11/21/2006, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+
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Jan 8, 2008 11:49PM Susan1120 wrote:

Hi Rosemary,

 Thank you for advice! I am already on a calcium supplement with D.

I am working on the potassium, I am not sure about magnesium though. I take Paxil and I am not sure if the 2 can be taken together.

Anyone care to enlighten me?
 Paxil is the whole reason I am on Femara and ovarian suppresion. I can't get off of it!Frown I tried and I became a train wreck waiting to happen! I have been on it pre BC for Panic Disorder for 10 years almost 11 now. I truly wish I had NEVER started it because I don't know if I will ever be free from it! It has and does help me but I am terrified to try to go off it again right now. Maybe later this year I can try again!

Love to you


Dx 11/21/2006, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+
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Jan 9, 2008 07:21AM Rosemary44 wrote:


I wouldn't know if Mg and paxil will collide.  I take Mg for the same reasons you take paxil.  Panic attacks, depression, leg cramps and a whole bunch of other reasons.  Kris might come along.  If it has something to do with a drug she usually can find it.

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Feb 22, 2008 04:52PM Sig wrote:

I Susan, glad to see your are doing fine. I have been quite busy lately searching information on the net about Eligard Femara and herceptin and forgot to check back this web site. I also have pelvic pain more intense on the left side, this has started about 1 month after my eligard shot. So I have been searching for info and could not find anything related, so now I read that you also have pelvic pain then may be it has something to do with Eligard. I also have leg cramps/pain similar when I was getting taxol but less painful. I do 60 mins of exercise every day and I find this very helpful for the leg pain. Are you constantly losing weight? because I have been and my oncologist told me this was very unusual and right now I am going through several tests in order to figure out the reason. She scared me because right now I am underweight (44 kg). I lost 15 kg since the start of my chemo. I am constantly eating and I am now quite fed up of eating. Is your estradiol level remains low with eligard?


Dx 1/16/2007, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 2/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Jan 21, 2011 04:52PM LCrowe wrote:

Hey, I know this is almost three years old but I've been having leg cramps for the last three or four days and nothing helps! And I'm on Femara. Taking D, Calcium, etc. Just went back to work after a long winter vacation so I suspect that's part of the problem; I'd heard from a chiropractor that "running around" can deplete vitamins and minerals just like running an actual marathon can. But at least I now know it's related also to Femara.

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Jan 21, 2011 04:57PM LCrowe wrote:

Will also try the Dove soap in bed as well as on the easy chair while watching TV. Interesting!

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Jan 26, 2012 08:09AM magcline wrote:

I have been on both Arimidex or Femara since my treatment for Stage 1 breast cancer ended in August 2008.  I have taken myself off both of these drugs to gain some respite from the hideous side effects I have experienced that include severe bone and joint pain, horrifying leg cramps at night, arthritis-like debility, thin hair, lack of libido, etc.  The first time I came off Arimidex, I finally started to feel like I was recovering from my treatment and I stayed off it for six months.  My onc convinced me that studies show that those women who suffer the worst side effects are most likely those women who receive the most benefit from the drug.  I went back on Femara until March 2011 and that time I stayed off it for 3 months.  Sad to report that my "recovery" was not quite as dramatic as the first time.  It is now 34 months of taking these drugs and that means that I have 26 more months to go, but now that my rheumatologist has my bone and joint pain under control (Arthrotec 75 mg X 2 daily, Cyclobenzaprine 10 mg X 2 daily and the latest "miracle" drug, Co Q10 over the counter), I am suffering from hideous leg cramps.  I am considering taking another break from the aromatase inhibitors just to enjoy a few pain free months (and get some sleep).  My Oncotype DX score was 39 so I'm terrified not to continue this drug, but the thought of having to do an additional 5 years (as studies suggest) is something I just can't contemplate.  I count the DAYS until my initial 5 years are up.  Good luck, ladies, and go see a rheumatologist.  Even  if I have to take 5 pills to overcome some of the side effects of that nasty litte tiny pill, I am determined to somehow get 60 months of that stuff into me.  New goal:  additional meds to get rid of the leg cramps!!

Oncotype DX 39 Dx 1/7/2008, IDC, 2cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jan 14, 2013 06:58AM Joanm917 wrote:

I am only 10 days into Femara and the legs and feet cramps during the night are so painful. Also dealt with my head getting soaking wet, had to get up and use a towel to dry my hair some and change my pillow case. I am an awful sleeper to start with and these added afflictions are awful. I was taking arimedex but had the same issues so my doctor switched me to Femara. I am ready to take my chances and not take any of these drugs.

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Jan 14, 2013 07:16AM Momine wrote:

Joan, I started taking a small dose of magnesium daily. I started to improve my D/calcium absorbtion, but it also seems to have improved the leg cramps.

As far as the night sweats, that drove me nuts at first too. It has, however, calmed down to the point that it doesn't bother me very often anymore. It was worst the first 3 months or so.

Dx 6/1/2011, ILC, 5cm, Stage IIIB, Grade 2, 7/23 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 6/20/2011 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Ellence (epirubicin), Fluorouracil (5-fluorouracil, 5-FU, Adrucil), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 9/13/2011 Mastectomy: Left, Right Radiation Therapy 1/9/2012 Surgery 3/8/2012 Prophylactic ovary removal Hormonal Therapy 4/1/2012 Femara (letrozole)
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Aug 11, 2014 01:06PM duck1216 wrote:

I know putting a bar of soap between the sheets sounds ridiculous, but putting a bar of Ivory soap between my sheets has always worked to get rid of my leg cramps!!!

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Mar 4, 2015 08:45PM cybermab wrote:

This is a pretty old topic, but I have been on Femara since September, and about two weeks ago awoke in the night to go to the bathroom. As I was getting out of bed, I had this indescribable pain in my leg. It was so bad that I thought I had a blood clot, or was dying or something. It was different than any other leg cramp I'd ever had, as it wasn't confined to my arch or calf and didn't respond to my pointing my toes toward my knee as cramps always had in the past. After several minutes of bearing weight on my leg, it subsided. Today, I was resting in bed as I am recovering from a nasty bout of bronchitis, and I got a similar cramp, only this one was centered on the top of my ankle and forced my foot upward, so I couldn't move it.

These cramps feel like I'm being taken over by aliens. I assume they're from the Femara. Just as I was getting over the crazy joint pain side effects, now this. I hate to gripe, but I would love to feel that I was back in my old pre-BC body.

Thank you for letting me rant,

Mary Anne

Dx 4/18/2014, IDC, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/21/2014 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel
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Mar 5, 2015 01:00PM Kicks wrote:

I have been on Femara/letrozole for 5+ yrs and I get horrendous leg cramps at times. However, it is not the Femara/letrozole that is at fault - it is low K (potassium) levels.

1/2 way through 12 weekly Taxol, my K levels 'tanked' and had to go on mega doses of K to keep levels in normal range. I still have to take K to keep levels up but occasionally it will drop and I have to increase for a while then drop back a bit. When a cramp happens, I take another K and within minutes it will subside - if I don't take, it will get worse and continue happening until I get K levels back up.

This may not have anything to do with your cramping issues and certainly DO NOT take mega doses of K without your Dr's approval as too much K can be as deadly as too little. I have the approval of my Drs to handle my issues as I do after blood work showed the issue and I do get check. Mg (magnesium) and Zn (zinc) levels also need to be in proper ratios.

Talk to your Dr.

Dx 8/7/2009, IBC, Stage IIIC, 19/19 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 8/24/2009 AC Surgery 10/20/2009 Lymph node removal: Right; Mastectomy: Right Chemotherapy 11/10/2009 Taxol (paclitaxel) Radiation Therapy 2/3/2010 Breast, Lymph nodes

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