Up to 88% of patients with hepatic cirrhosis experience painful muscle cramps resulting in sleep deprivation and impaired quality of life.
Management is often based on poor evidence with varying degrees of success in controlling the frequency and severity of muscle cramps in this group.
Dr Vidot and colleagues from Australia reviewed systematically the treatment options for muscle cramps in cirrhosis.
The team searched the relevant databases to identify treatments for muscle cramps in patients with hepatic cirrhosis.
Studies meeting the selection criteria were reviewed and quality of the papers was rated using a validated quality rating scale.
The results for each treatment are reported.
|A wide range of treatments were identified including zinc and vitamin E|
|Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics|
The research team identified 18 publications as eligible for inclusion in this systematic review.
The majority of these were treatment/intervention reports.
The team found only 3 randomized-control studies.
A wide range of treatments were identified including zinc, 1-α-hydroxy vitamin D, vitamin E, branched chain amino acids, taurine, l-carnitine, nuiche-shen-qi-wen, eperisone hydrochloride, intravenous albumin and quinidine.
The team report some improvements in muscle cramps with most interventions with the exception of vitamin E, however, the evidence predominantly relies on case study reports.
The researchers observed that there is a lack of randomized-controlled clinical studies to support using these interventions.
Dr Vidot's team comments, "There appear to be a number of promising treatments for muscle cramps in cirrhosis."
"However, there remains a need for further double-blinded, randomized, controlled clinical investigations to support routine use of these interventions to treat muscle cramps in patients with hepatic cirrhosis."