Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of the safety and efficacy of vitamin B complex in the treatment of nocturnal leg cramps in elderly patients with hypertension.
J Clin Pharmacol. 1998 Dec;38(12):1151-4. PMID: 11301568
Nocturnal leg cramps is a common and troublesome problem in elderly individuals, and their etiology is unknown. Treatment with quinine is a common practice, but the effectiveness of the drug is doubtful and adverse drug effects are common. This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study was conducted to evaluate the safety and efficacy of vitamin B complex capsules (fursulthiamine 50 mg, hydroxocobalamin 250 micrograms, pyridoxal phosphate 30 mg, and riboflavin 5 mg) in 28 elderly patients with hypertension who had severe nocturnal leg cramps that disturbed their sleep. Self-reported ratings of leg cramp frequency, duration, and intensity were used to evaluate severity of nocturnal leg cramps. Both the patients taking vitamin B capsules (n = 14) and those taking placebo (n = 14) received medications three times daily, and were examined regularly at 2-week intervals for 3 months. After 3 months, 86% of the patients taking vitamin B had prominent remission of leg cramps, whereas those taking placebo had no significant difference from baseline. Treatment with vitamin B complex significantly reduced the frequency, intensity, and duration of nocturnal leg cramps. Because quinine is not without potential for side effects, and vitamin B complex is a relatively safe and effective alternative, clinicians should reconsider the treatment of choice for nocturnal leg cramps.