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Topic: leg cramps

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: Sep 3, 2007 04:57AM

tropicmom wrote:

Sorry if this is addressed in another thread, but I couldn't find it. Of course, with a low level of patience...
anyway, I have been on Tamoxifen for about 3 weeks, and this week started to have leg cramps while sleeping, or when waking up-which I do a lot because of the fun hot flashes and stretching in bed.
Is this from the tamoxifen?
I work out with aerobics 4 times a week and walk two miles the other days.
But I have never cramps like this. Yikes
Dx 1/2007, IDC, 2cm, Stage IV, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Sep 3, 2007 05:09AM roseg wrote:

I had that problem too.

Sometimes sleeping in socks would help -- except when I'd get hot at night. I added bananas to get more potassium.

I'm not sure how much those things really helped but I felt like I was doing something.

Eventually they subsidized.
Rose
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Sep 3, 2007 05:09AM Carol1220 wrote:

I have been on Tamoxifen since April and have just recently started to get leg cramps in my calves. I am seeing a nutritionist and my Onc. this Thursday so I will ask them about it. Also just started to get joint pain in my hands. I thought I was free and clear of side effects because it's been months since I started. I guess it takes a while. Carol

Dx 10/13/2006, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIIC, 10/15 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 10/13/2006, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIIC, Grade 3, 10/15 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 3, 2007 07:30AM iodine wrote:

Some have found that drinking tonic water helpful -the quinine in it .

Dotti---BE NOT AFRAID, Pope John Paul
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Sep 3, 2007 01:51PM wallycat wrote:

Old wives tale, but it works....French's mustard. 1 TBS before bed or at the time of a cramp and it goes away.

I had the leg cramps for about 4 days but it seems to have stopped so the mustard is back in the fridge
Dx 4/07 1 month before turning 50; ILC 1.8cm, ER+/PR+, HER2 neg., Stage 1, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes. Onco score 20, Bilateral Mast., tamoxifen 3-1/2 years, arimidex-completed 4/20/2012
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Sep 3, 2007 02:17PM FitChik wrote:

Also, increasing your magnesium supplementation can help. I often read Rosemary's posts about how beneficial a proper amount of magnesium can be and decided to increase my intake to 500 mg. I needed to do that incrementally since too much added at once can cause a stomach/bowel upset. But I'm really glad I tried it....I very rarely have leg or feet cramps now!

~Marin

PS The tonic water is also supposed to work wonders, but I can't drink it due to my Myasthenia Gravis.
"Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim." ~Nora Ephron
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Sep 3, 2007 03:43PM sjoc wrote:

After being on tamox for a month or so I too started with leg cramps that would knock me right out of bed. They seem to be subsiding, but still happen 3-4 times a week. I seemed to have developed Carpel tunnel in both hands overnight, was extremely painful. It lasted about a week, I bought some wrist splints and it has gone away. From reading oither posts, do AI's give you more severe joint and bone pain. I have an appt with my onc in 2 weeks and was going to ask about switching, but now am afraid that AI's sound worse than tamox. Thanks. Sandy

Dx 5/2/2006, IDC, 3cm, Stage II, Grade 3, 1/2 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Sep 3, 2007 04:03PM bookworm759 wrote:

I have had those too. I read somewhere online that taking calcium at dinner or later would help. I tried that and it did help, a lot. They're pretty much gone now.

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Sep 10, 2007 12:18PM Rosemary44 wrote:

It's true, the later in the evening you can take calcium and magnesium, the better.  For leg cramps, I'd take the magnesium 2 hours apart from the calcium.  They seem to fight with each other for absorption.

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Sep 11, 2007 09:43AM FitChik wrote:

Rosemary...I take my magnesium in the morning, at the same time as my other vitamins & supplements and my meds, including the thyroid med. I then make sure to begin my calcium intake at least 4 hours later (so as not to interfere w/thyroid drug). Do you know of any contraindication regarding taking magnesium with any meds or other supplements? Also, what amount of magnesium does your research recommend?

~Marin 

"Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim." ~Nora Ephron
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Sep 12, 2007 05:31AM - edited Sep 12, 2007 05:35AM by Rosemary44

 Marin,

What type of calcium are you on?  One of the thyroid drugs suggests that you don't take carbonate with it.  I'd watch for it in O.J. and where ever else they add calcium to these days.

I'm trying to think of where I first read all about magnesium.  It was quite an informative site for all the ailments it heals.  The recommended dosage was up to 800 mgs for those with heart problems.  I do about 600mgs daily.   The gov't sites always think we should take less:

The NIH has a write up on it and what drugs are countraindicated:

 http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/magnesium.asp

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Sep 12, 2007 10:03AM dasm wrote:

I just started tamoxifen this past Monday, and have leg cramps already. I exercise at least 5 days a week(spinning and walking), so I hope this helps.

I have had problems sleeping since Monday. Has anyone had this

problem on tamoxifen?

Debbie

Dx 4/30/2007, IDC, 2cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 12, 2007 01:20PM Rosemary44 wrote:

Debbie,

It should help, but another overlooked thing to do is to up your water intake.  Take the mag at night and maybe it will help with getting better rest.

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Sep 13, 2007 04:42AM Blundin2005 wrote:

Hi Rosemary,

Sorry ... a little OT .. but the carbonato issue and thyroid medicine....did you mean not to take it at the same time? or at all? I take both but I take my Arimidex and Eutirox in the morning and calcium with D3 later in the day.

I'll try to take my vitamins around dinner time if it helps with the leg cramps ... thanks for the info all.

DX 15 Aug '05, Stage1/grade1, 1.5 cm, IDC/DCIS, 0/2 nodes, ER+PR-,HER2 5%; Dx Oct 2008 bladder papilloma low grade; Dx 07/2013 Stage 2b; t3 M0, 2.0 cm lung cancer, rt. upper lobe
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Sep 13, 2007 08:35AM hockeymomfl wrote:

Hi there, I also take tamoxifen and get like a fluttering/cramping feeling in my right leg. looks like it is part of the process.....

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Sep 13, 2007 08:41AM - edited Sep 13, 2007 08:52AM by Rosemary44

Marilyn,

I wouldn't take carbonate at all.  I can't remember the exact words in the warning, but it left me thinking that carbonate type of calcium is not advisable with that drug.   If you've been taking carbonate, and suddenly stop, it could do something to the med strength, so won't you need to be retested again for proper dosage?

I think the drug was synthroid that had the warning, maybe yours isn't effected by carbonate.

Also, you should be taking calcium in divided doses 500mgs 5 hours apart.

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Sep 13, 2007 09:04AM Rosemary44 wrote:

It could just be part of the process, and then again, it could be a first sign of magnesium deficiency.   It's hard to know unless you try magnesium and see if the problem disappears.

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Sep 13, 2007 11:14AM Blundin2005 wrote:

Thanks Rosemary!!!!

Yes, my med is the same .... so I googled synthroid + carbonate and found the JAMA study in the late 90's and copied to .pdf. T4 absorption decreases and serum thryotopin increases .... oh boy.

I've been feeling really not well at all since the doctor increased my eutirox dosage in July.

grazie.

DX 15 Aug '05, Stage1/grade1, 1.5 cm, IDC/DCIS, 0/2 nodes, ER+PR-,HER2 5%; Dx Oct 2008 bladder papilloma low grade; Dx 07/2013 Stage 2b; t3 M0, 2.0 cm lung cancer, rt. upper lobe
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Sep 13, 2007 02:58PM Rosemary44 wrote:

Marilyn,

Hopefully, you can decrease the dosage now.  Anyway, if your not feeling good on a drug, it's a big warning sign.  Your body is talking to you, so take yourself back to the Dr. and tell him/or her so.

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Sep 15, 2007 09:11AM Erica wrote:

Cramping is definitely one side effect of tamoxifen--my onc confirmed that. It also happens on HRT (what I took before bc and tamoxifen, and even on Femara, I think). I found that one glass of tonic water at dinner time (delicious with a slice of lime, and you can add gin or vodka occasionally LOL) really helped. Again, my onc confirmed that this is a good remedy.

I mostly had the cramps at night, in both my calves and my feet. One thing that made a big difference--I trained myself not to point my toes while stretching out in bed. And if a cramp started, I would flex my feet (while massaging the crampy area). This helped stop the cramp.

Barbara 

BreastFree.org (breastfree.org); BreastFree Blog (breastfree.blogspot.com); Twitter @BreastFree
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Feb 9, 2009 11:55PM Cather1ne wrote:

Sorry for a new member to drag up an old post.   I have been on tamoxifen since August, about six weeks ago I started getting cramps.  I rang my oncologist who said rubbish it was nothing to do with tamoxifen.  I was so upset i cried, then I came home and did an internet search.   I found this and other topics on the subject which all seemed to confirm my thoughts that it was a direct side effect of tamoxifen.  On one discussion board I read someone say that you should put a bar of soap in your bed!  Normally i would have laughed but desperate measures were called for.  I put the bar of unopened soap in my bed ... I haven't had a leg cramp since!   Has anyone else tried it, or am I just completely nuts ????   Most people laugh at me when I tell them but it is now 10 days since my last leg cramp.

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Feb 10, 2009 03:02AM kuchagirl wrote:

I've been on tamoxifen for about 20 months, and I just started getting the leg cramps and foot cramps within the past 2 months.  However, since I started having a glass of tonic water before bed, I haven't had a leg cramp.  I also am eating more bananas.  I've tried wearing socks to bed, but then my feet get hot so I've abandoned that.  If I get tired of tonic water, I'll definitely be trying the "soap in the bed" trick.  Are you using a particular brand of soap? 

Kuchagirl

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Feb 10, 2009 03:13PM Cather1ne wrote:

I recall that the post i read somewhere said some were better than others, cut all I had in the house was Lux so that is what I use

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Feb 10, 2009 10:11PM priz47 wrote:

Cather1ne,

I am curious as to why a bar of soap would work??? Not that i doubt you and believe me there will be a bar of soap in my bed tonight! Is it opened or unopened or does it matter? At the head or foot of the bed? Can you tell I am desperate?

D

Dx 4/22/2008, ILC, 1cm, Stage II, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Feb 11, 2009 09:36AM kimbly wrote:

I get terrible leg cramps and had no idea it was the Tamox that could be causing this.  I also used to get them when I was pregnant so just figured it was me.. apparently not. I am going to try the tonic water thing. 

Dx 11/21/2007, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Feb 11, 2009 11:43AM IllinoisNancy wrote:

Hi,

I've been on Tamoxifen for 2 years and for the last month I've had killer foot cramps.  I can't get my shoe off fast enough!!!  I just walk it off and deal with it but I will try eating more banana's now that I know it helps.  Thanks for the info!!

Nancy

Pleomorphic Invasive Breast cancer three times 2006, 2010 and 2016, IBrance and Femara, NET Cancer in stomach and liver 2015, Sandostatin
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Feb 14, 2009 06:13AM Cather1ne wrote:

Hi I have absolutely no idea why it would work,   I thought it nuts when i read it but was so desperate I would try anything.  The soap is unopened, still in paper, and at the foot of my bed.  I swear I have not had a leg cramp since, maybe it is psychological but I really don't care.   

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Feb 14, 2009 10:46AM mawhinney wrote:

Emergency medical crews following marathon runners, bike racers, and triathletes give the atheletes bananas when they develop legs cramps.  The body readily absorbs the potassium in bananas.

I had night cramps in my right leg - always the right leg - before I started Arimidex.  A banana a day has really helped stop the leg cramping.  However, I started Arimidex about 9 months ago and I am now experiencing cramping in my right foot.  The right side of the foot around the toes cramps and pulls toward the left.  Happened when I was driving!  This morning I picked up a pot of tea and some of the fingers on my left bent toward the right and cramped.

  It has to be the Arimidex that ise causing the problem. I see my oncologist on Wed and will let you know what he says.

Dx 5/18/2008, IDC, <1cm, Stage IB, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Feb 14, 2009 11:16AM Katalin wrote:

Mawhinny, I have the EXACT same thing with the right foot! Mine was pulling to the right!!  At night and while driving.  At night,  I find the best solution is to jump out of bed from a deep sleep, yelling f#ck, f#ck, F#CK!!!  I find my DB (dear boyfriend) really enjoys this in the middle of the night! Then I walk it off, however long it takes. But seriously, I had killer cramps on tamoxifen for about 3 months, and since switching to arimidex, they started again, but this time I was READY FOR THEM!!  I was more careful about never missing the calcium...my naturopath recommends 2:1 calcium to magnesium Sisu Cal-mag citrate (that's what she recommends for ME, you may need something else...)  I also am careful not to get my feet too weighed down with the bedclothes.  Stick em out...helps with the hot flashes!!!  It must have to do with the sudden lack of estrogen.  Sometimes I wonder if cutting off all that estrogen is *really* good for us!  Couldn't they leave us with just a delightful joint-lubricating, muscle-freeing *titch* of estrogen?  Oh well, I guess we'll never know!

 Good luck to all of us with these nutty sfx! 

Dx 7/1/2006, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Feb 25, 2009 01:35PM wayover20 wrote:

 Hi ladies!  I have to jump in here and attest to the soap remedy.....it really works!  I would get terrible charley horse and feet cramps on my right leg (always that leg) several times a week. I surfed the web and read somewhere about the soap.  I just got a bar of dove, put it in an old trouser sock, placed it at the foot of the bed under the fitted sheet.  I had been without even one cramp for about 2-3 months then they started again so I got a new bar of soap to replace it and voila! no cramps! 

If it's all in my head that's ok too, it works anyway!!

Pat

Pat Dx 8/3/2008, ILC, 6cm+, Stage IV, 0/17 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Mar 23, 2010 11:54AM harold65 wrote:

Oh my am I glad to find this discussion and realize this might be a drug related issue.  I have been on Tamoxifen for close to 3 yrs, suffering often from leg cramps for that whole time. I find heat helps, esp in winter, so have a heating pad that I start the night with. My mother also had them, and found relief in calcium supplements.  My pcp couldn't offer any help but did write a script for blood levels which I had drawn after a cramp-laden sleepless night. I wasn't deficient in any one substance, magnesium, potassium or calcium, but my calcium level was lower than the rest. So, I try very hard to stick to taking my vits earlier in the day and taking calcium chews 3 times a day.  Along with adequate water intake and a glass of tonic water, and I'm doing pretty well. Very maddening condition, esp when they hit in the midst of sleep!

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