Tamoxifen and foot and leg cramps

Hi there

I was just wondering if anyone else suffers from foot and leg cramps. Mine only started shortly after starting Tamoxifen and I am now getting them regularly so I am assuming its a side-effect - although not one that appears on the leaflet in the box of tablets.

Last night was really bad, I got it in both feet and it was agony for a good 15 - 20 mins while I was trying to stretch them both out.

If anyone does get cramps - is there anything which might alleviate it?




I was diagnosed with BC in Nov 2006. I had a mx lymph node clearance and chemo. I have been on Tamoxifen for over 3 years. I suffer from foot and leg cramps quite often. I read that if you drink Tonic Water with quinine daily it helps. I tried this and it does work for me.

Take care

Carolyn x

Hi I was the same, The Onc put me on 3 Magnesium tablets a day, plus drink tonic water before you go to bed !!! It really does work…xxx

I have suffered from horrible calf and feet cramps lately and I’ve been on tamoxifen for over a year. My solution - possibly a bit drastic - was to cut my dose by half. I now have considerably fewer sweats and flushes and much less trouble with cramps - I just couldn’t take the lack of sleep as I work full time.

Hi, I have to say that I took your drastic solution too and have cut my Tamoxifen dose in half. Like you I couldn’t bear the sleepless nights as I just couldn’t function, plus I seemed to be catching every bug and virus doing the rounds.I also got so exhausted with the nausea, constant headache and ‘racing brain’. I get really awful calf cramps which are SOOOO painful that my muscle can feel bruised for days afterwards. I’ve tried tonic water with quinine but haven’t noticed any difference.
I’ve been on Tamoxifen since March and until October had very minor SEs, however since October I’ve been getting the lot.

Thank you all for the advice! I don’t wish it on anyone, but glad I’m not the only one ;-))

Hi, I suffered very bad cramps during the night, and mentioned it to my onc who prescribed quinnine bisulphate, I take one each night and it works wonders, if I forget the cramps are back. I also drink tonic water on a regular basis, but it is the pills that work for me. Good luck junieliz

Vallee - glad to know I’m not alone in cutting the tam. It is a scary decision to make but you have to weigh up the benefits vs the personal costs. In my case the stats suggested that I have approx 20% chance of recurrence without tamoxifen and about 15% with tam. Not a big difference. And if you google tamoxifen you also find some frightening stuff about the risks of taking it! I figure half a tablet is a bit of a compromise. I still have flushes and sweats but overall am doing better and (touch wood) the leg cramps have been much fewer lately. I just didn’t want to go to the GP and possibly end up taking more drugs.


I was staggering out of bed with leg cramps on a regular basis, entangled in the duvet and ricocheting off the wardrobe and ending in a heap on the floor. A banana a day keeps the leg cramps at bay! Bananas contain potassium so there may be some scientific basis for the way it works - it certainly worked for me.

Good luck,

I’ve just started getting the leg cramps. I’ve been on Tam since Feb, and didn’t have any problems for 5 months then had to come off it for a month because of an allergic reaction and I’m now back on it but having loads of SEs. I agree with you Vallee, i’ve been catching anything going and I’m sure the lack of sleep doesn’t help.

Hi, I have recently been to the GP about this. She prescribed qiunine which I duly took till I googled the side effects which don’t seem too good. Its recently been banned for “nocturnal leg cramps” by the FDA. She also said that making sure that you are not dehydrated is important and, surprisingly - and this is more relevant if you exercise, ensure that you are getting enough salt. You can sweat if off and some of us are now not replenishing it because we have cut it out of our diet.

My cramps are not too bad but interfere with me swimming.

Oh my goodness, I can join this club! I have had a few cramps since starting Tamoxifen in May, but for some reason last week they came on with a vengeance. My toes often cramp after swimming (I swim pretty much daily) but these night time/early morning cramps attack my calf. Last week I managed to get a special combo - calf and toes in some kind of two for one offer. I was in agony, prancing around with toes like a Barbie doll! I have also heard about magnesium, potassium and quinine. Not sure which to try.

It seems to have calmed a bit this week, let’s see…

me too, when i get up in the morning - my feet always feel like theyve been crushed. Kind of like when someone shakes your hand really hard, and crushed your fingers. Only in the toes… if you see what i mean…

When i get up i totter around until they calm down a bit.

ive been taking cod liver oil and calcium vitD tablets, which my onc is ok about me taking.