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Muscle Cramps - Too much ventolin?

The past week or so I've been getting more cramp in my leg and foot, especially at night in my foot (wierdly on the top of my foot rather than bottom if you get what I mean). A quick google suggested it could be ventolin depleting my potassium sources. Should I just take a multivit?

16 Replies

There is a known link between ventolin and low potassium, however my potassium has only ever been low twice and that was when I was in hospital so having lots of nebs. To be honest I didn't get any cramps even when I needed IV potassium! but I do get them quite a lot when my levels are presumably normal.

Bananas are high in potassium so maybe try eating a banana! I think that some other tropical fruit is also high in potassium.



Magnesium and potassium - magnesium is the body's main muscle relaxant and most of us are deficient in it before we take asthma meds.

Natures Best is an online firm who sell good quality magnesium citrate and potassium.



thanks , i didn't know about the link between ventolin and cramps- thats interesting. I agree try and up your intake of potassium rich foods see if that helps.



Thanks guys, will take some multivits with magnesium and potassium in and eat some banana's too. :)


'The Miracle of Magnesium' by Dr. Carolyn Dean is an excellent book on the subject with an entire chapter dedicated to asthma.

If you google the above you can often find extracts of it online.

Here is a bit from her own site.



Ive been on the bad recieving end of this! Back in april, after roughly 2 months of using vent i got rudely awaken one morning with awful calf cramp, thigh cramp and foot cramp. It was so bad i passed out! I then endured it for another 22 hours! 7am through til 5am the next morning. I pulled all the muscles in my leg and it took around 4 weeks for me to be able to walk properly! I take potassium tabs daily now and keep deep freeze about just incase (works wonders!). Tonic is also good as it contains quinine (cant spell!) that eases cramping.


Ok, so a blood test has confirmed (taken for another reason) that I do i indeed have slightly low potassium (3.49 whereas normal is 3.5-5.0) so taking multivits and bananas daily and being careful about the ventolin I take from now on..

Any ideas on how quickly the levels should rise? And how do I prevent the ventolin depleting the stores in future? Addiction to bananas/multivits for life? I hate taking vits/pills, I have a rubblish memory for taking them but maybe just need to put them beside my inhalers for the morning..

Editted to add: thanks for tip about tonic, will get some in.


As others have said, cramp as a side-effect is well known and is documented in the patient leaflets for most of the common inhalers.

I have suffered with cramp ever since being starting the inhalers that go with a diagnosis of asthma. Seretide was the worst. It was the reason, initially, that I swapped to Symbicort, with which I suffered a little less. Screamingly painful cramp is a sure-fire response to high Ventolin usage. I usually get the cramp in my calf (feet next), which is what makes me jump out of bed screaming in the middle of the night. I have even got it in my neck in response to nebs at A&E.

I have never had a low potassium reading when a blood sample has been taken, but I have never managed to get that taken at the same time as I am suffering significantly from cramp.

I have got into a routine of banana with my breakfast, banana with my lunch, banana with my tea. I have been doing it so long now that it has become a habit. Does it work? Sure does for me.



I get horrid muscle cramps too

This is so interesting, I will have to sort out having to see my GP again. I have just come out the other side of a bad episode again with my asthma and for the past 4 nights I have woken with horrid muscle cramps in my legs. I first thought it was the way I sleep but after reading this it could be the amount of Salbutamol I have been taking. I have also been craving bananas and can't get enough of them which are also a good source of potassium


the link is know, but bananas helping with the muscle cramps doesn't work, I always eat them but used to get muscle cramps, worth a try but also dehydration so check your fluid intake.


If you get cramp regularly it maybe worth speaking to your gp firstly to see if your asthma is under control and if you can reduce your ventolin usage.

If this is not the case then the GP can prescribe quinine sulphate tablets -although there is quinine in tonic water you would need to be drinking absurd amounts to get even a tiny amount.

I take quinine tablets every night as i was getting cramps in mad places u wouldnt have thought possible but i need to neb salbutamol 3-4 hrly and also keep up my potassium via diet.

good luck

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OWWW just having the most horrendous foot cramp this evening. I'm eating bananas and drinking tonic knowing that they'll have little effect but owwwww.



i got the most horrendous cramp in my calf muscle about 4am, its soooooo painful. I was galloping round the bedroom it was so painful.I managed to massage thr knot out, but it made the muscle ache all day. Do be careful as quinnine can cause tinnitus and can aggravate it if you have it already.

Anyone who gets cramp regularly gets my sympathy having it occasionally is bad enough.



If you get cramp, sit with legs straight in front on a cold floor and flex your foot so your toes pull up towards your knees, hurts even more but stops it after a bit!! I got it a lot when I was pregnant, had me in tears!!


I get leg cramps too, usually down the back of my thigh, but often in any of the other legs muscles too. I run a bit and the more I run the more likely the cramps are. Set off mainly by Seretide in my case.

Bananas are a source of Potassium, but Sultanas contain much more. So I have fixed the cramp problem for me by downing a handful of sultanas each day. They do pretty well with cereal for breakfast, or as a snack later on. Raisins are just as good. I have never managed to avert the cramps with just bananas.

Definitely mention to the doc next time though - apart from anything else, they only know about side-effects because people report them!

Good luck



I suffered badly with leg and feet cramps in the middle of the night due to my asthma medication. I had bloods done and all was normal.

My doc put me on Quinine Sulphate 200mg tablet per day and it seems to have practically stopped the cramps.

I have been on these for about 2 months with only one cramp episode in this time.

Before I was on these tablets, I was getting cramps nearly every night.

Hope this helps



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