Heart risk alert over the drug which is used to cure cramps and added into tonic water and bitter lemon

A medicine that is prescribed to hundreds of thousands of people who suffer with cramp and restless legs could put them at risk of potentially fatal heart problems, doctors have warned.

Quinine, best known for being added to drinks such as tonic water and bitter lemon, was originally used as an anti-malarial drug before being replaced by modern alternatives.

It is not recommended by either of the UK’s healthcare watchdogs, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) or the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). However, a new study has revealed that an astonishing 3.5 million prescriptions are issued for it in the UK every year – and many people take the drug for years.

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