Leg Cramps and Tamoxifen

Hello Ladies

Anybody suffering with cramps with taking tamoxifen?
I was told it could be a side effect but not suffered until this weekend, have been on tamox for 7 months.
Woke up with dreadful cramp in calf muscle for the last three nights.
Nothing last night thankfully! Anybody got any info/experiences about this?


Hi scone,
Oh how i sympathise with you,i too have suffered the most awfull leg and feet cramps since starting hormone therapy,i started having the cramps shortly after starting Tamox and was hoping things would improve when i was switched to Aromasin (now Arimadex) but it hasnt .
The cramps are awfull and can be very painfull i often feel like ive been kicked as my muscles feel so sore afterwards ,unfortuneately for me i havent been able to find anything that realy helps with mine though i know some ladies say Tonic Water can help or you can get Quinene tabs from your onc or GP which can also help.

I hope you can get some help with them as it is miserable when you are woken up in the night with these awfull cramps and your hobbleing about untill they subside, mine unfortunately happen during the day too so its not pleasant , im sure it is a SE though the medical profession doesnt always reconise it as being so.
Hope you get some relief soon.
Linda x

Hi I have leg cramps and find that if I walk around it eases off. I know its painful but moving about does help. I have terrible hot flushes too!!!

I too had leg cramps (especially at night) on tamoxifen and they have continued with Aromasin. My GP has prescribed quinine sulphate and that has helped. I took it every night for a month to see if it would work. It did help so we then reduced it to every other night and the effect stayed the same. It hasn’t stopped it completely but reduced enough to make it easily manageable.

Hope you find something that work,

Yes, awful leg cramps at night sometimes. It usually lasts for a few days then I don’t get any for a while, then it starts again. Frightens the living daylights out of my OH when I leap out of bed with a yell of pain! The only thing I’ve found that helps at all is to do muscle stretches on my ankles and ham strings.
Sarah x


I suffered leg cramps too. I found a small glass of tonic water helped me. Its worth a try.

Take care

Carolyn x

I am also suffering bad leg cramps at nigt, It happens 4 or 5 times a night and I have to walk around until it eases. I am taling Arimidex. My muscles feel sore during the day.

I do drink tonic water but it does not seem to have done much.

Thanks ever so much for all your replies, really helpful.
Will get the tonic water first and then go to GP for the quinene if needed.
It’s so good to know it’s not just you it’s happening to when all these weird things start happening to your body!



Well…I have been on Tamoxifen for 2years and recently started getting bad cramps but mainly in the thigh muscles. I hadn’t made the connection but maybe its that. I have started having a bit of salt on my meal once a day (don’t normally have any as I have high blood pressure) and they have got better.


Horrible cramps started for me over a year into tamoxifen. It is horrible and painful and I hate it. My calves in particular tend to cramp up when I’m in bed andI get horrible cramp in my feet and toes every week when I do my aquarobics! I just try to put up with it because I don’t want to take more meds. I also just half my tamox dose every so often - I wonder if the tam builds up in the body and that’s when it gets bad? And of course, hot flushes are the other nightmare though I’m happy to say that mine have subsided a lot over the past 6 months.

I find that drinking lots of mineral water helps to alleviate the leg/foot cramps.

I started on Tamoxifen about four months ago and the leg cramps started almost immediately, first in one leg now in both. It is more or less permanent in both calves and I’m walking like an old woman. Stretching helps a little. I’m going to give the tonic water a go - can I put gin in it ? :-). The hot flushes I can cope with!!

I had been on tamoxifen for 2 years before my leg cramps started, so didn’t associate them as a side effect. After 6 months of being woken in the night with pain in my calves & feet I read an article that a magnesium supplement helped MS sufferers with leg spasms so decided to give them a try. After a couple of days of taking 2x400mg tabs I noticed a difference. 2 months later I no longer wake at night & although the tightness in both calves is still there it’s bearable. Only yesterday did I find out its a side effect of tamoxifen! I thought it was because I wasn’t walking so much since my dog has become elderly!

Hello Everyone! I’ve been taking tamoxifen for over three years. The muscle cramps didn’t start right away. I get them in my toes mostly, but it has happened in my legs, my hips and my back. I have found that increasing the amount of water I drink and adding a little more salt to my diet has helped some, but not completely. I’m going to try the magnesium citrate and see if it helps. I have a lot of side effects from this medication. Hot flashes, weight gain, heart flutters, indigestion, nausea, a bit of wheezing and my eye sight seems to be getting blurry. I don’t want to go through cancer again, but all these side effects are getting hard to deal with. And they say I have to take it for another two years at least, maybe even seven according to new reports.  :-(

I have only been  on Tamoxifen 4 months.   But my leg cramps started about one month ago.   At first I didn’t associate them with Tamoxifen.    But I finally read that it is a possible side effect and I decided to go off Tamoxifen to see if they would subside.   I have been off for two weeks, and I’m still getting them.   So, my question is, if they are Tamoxifen related, how long until it clears my system and I can get some sleep!

Hi Ladies, I’ve been on Tamoxifen for about 6 months after app 3 years on Anastrazole/Arimidex.  I stopped that because of the joint pains and muscle tightness (not cramps).  So, swapped those for leg cramps.  Woohoo! I can’t see any particular trigger, the last few nights I’ve woken around 5am, with legs twitching and cramping, the worst are big toe and shin muscle down the front of the calf, you can’t exercise it. 


The actual cramps usually go away after walking around, but start again when I get back in bed, so I can’t get back to proper sleep.  What with that and getting up to pee in the night, I’m up and down like the proverbial bride’s nightie…and start every day like a zombie.  Luckily I’m retired but if you’re working and/or have a family to deal with, it must be hell.  I’m on 400mg of magnesium which is 107% of RDA, so not sure if taking more is either useful or good for you.  My mother used to suffer with night cramps and swore by salt water but it hasn’t worked for me (she also drank a lot of tonic - with gin).  According to the NHS website,hydration is important and so is doing daily calf and shin stretches.  So will try remember and see what happens.  Oh for 7 hours of  sleep…



Yes I get them I used to get them quite frequent but now its can be weeks inbetween, I had one last night what a pain had to jump out of bed.  I am on my 5 year and was now told I have to take tamoxifen for another 5 years.   Cant wait …


 I don’t really have bad leg cramps…every once and awhile I get them but not that often. I have been on Tamoxifen for almost 2 yrs in August. Work out 5 days a week, and last weekend biked 2 days in a row. Now I seem to be screwed…both my knees have been sore and keep swelling by the end of the day. My husband is even in shock…says with all the working out I do it is strange for them to be swollen. I’m really hoping this is not the start of a long term issue. Also, my big toe joint has been sore for a few months. I do a lot of lunges and yoga moves hoping that is the issue. Had blood work for gout done and that was fine. The way I eat no way I could have that. Thinking it is the Tamoxifen. Wondering if I should start drinking Tonic water?? Reading posts from years past…

I have been on Tamoxifen for about 4 years now and have been suffering very painful camp of my toes, feet and lower legs, mainly at night but sometimes during the day or evening (I once had to march round and round the table at a board meeting at work to try and stop the pain - somewhat embarassing!).  Often cramp wakes me up several times a night.  

I followed all the NHS advice about stretching (ran my feet over a tennis ball, did the most weird contortions to stretch out the top of my feet and front of my legs (I seem to get cramp in muscles I didn’t know existed!), but this wasn’t very effective.  However after meeting a retired doctor recently who had suffered from chronic back pain following a major spinal injury, I decided to try the remedy that he has found  relieves  his back pain - bicarbonate of soda!  I’ve been drinking a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda in a small glass of water every night before I go to bed.  Blooming marvellous!  I’ve had no foot/leg cramps since I started, about 10 days ago.  I know it is early days but I just thought I had to share this with those of you who have similar problems.  If you google bicarbonate of soda and leg cramps you will see a few posts and articles on this.  You should checking with your doctor first to make sure there are no reasons why you should not take it - it tastes quite salty so may not be good if you have high blood pressure.  It’s allot cheaper than the gorgeous, but expensive Fevertree tonic water which unfortunately did not work for me. .

Thanks Katie,def worth a try ,I have been having nighttime cramps for last couple of months(on Tamoxifen for 7 months ).