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Ask Dr. Gott 9/29
Tonic water may be substitute for quinine tablets
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    DEAR DR. GOTT: In your past columns, I have read where some of your readers have treated severe leg cramps with quinine sulfate. I used a quinine product by the trade name Q-Vel until it was taken off the market. Since then, I have used 250-milligram tablets of quinine sulfate by prescription from my family doctor to relive severe leg cramps. These leg cramps occur in my upper-thigh area after strenuous exercise or climbing on a ladder. I use the quinine tablets only prior to or immediately after exercising or climbing. I have been using quinine for over 30 years without any apparent side effects. I have also used the bar of soap in the foot of my bed to successfully prevent leg cramps.
    When I went to renew my subscription for quinine sulfate, I was informed that the Food and Drug Administration has taken quinine sulfate off the market due to 665 reports of severe reactions to quinine and 93 deaths.
    Is there any other substitute to prevent and/or relieve these excruciating upper thigh leg cramps?
    DEAR READER: Some patients have serious consequences from using quinine tablets. I suggest that you try drinking an 8-ounce glass of tonic water in the evening before bed. If this is effective, great. If not, see your doctor.
    To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report "Consumer Tips on Medicine." Other readers who would like a copy should send a long, self-addressed, stamped envelope and $2 to Newsletter, PO Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092. Be sure to mention the title.

    DEAR DR. GOTT: I am an 80-year-old man. A year ago, I went to the hospital with stomach pains. I was diagnosed with pancreatitis, no known cause.
I've always been a moderate drinker, three or four glasses of wine a week. My doctor told me I couldn't drink anymore. I don't see why a small glass of wine occasionally would do any harm. What is your opinion?
    DEAR READER: Alcohol is poison to the liver, pancreas and many other organs.
    You do not mention how your have fared off alcohol for more than a year. I suggest that you touch bases with your doctor to determine the status of your pancreas. If it shows up normal, perhaps your physician would be willing to ease the restriction of your alcohol intake. If, on the other hand, your pancreas is still abnormal, further investigation will be necessary, to rule out stones, for example.

    DEAR DR. GOTT: I was told that if I develop pneumonia, I have a 98 percent chance of dying. Will a pneumonia shot make a difference?
    DEAR READER: The pneumonia vaccine protects you from certain causes of pneumonia, but not all. I'm not clear why you have been given such a worrisome prediction. However, the vaccine is appropriate in your case. Also, you should check with your family physician to discover why your risk from pneumonia is so high.
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