Treatment of Muscle Cramps in Patients With Cirrhosis of Liver: A Systematic Review

Shivam Kalia, Preetam Nath, Mona Pathak, Anil C. Anand

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Muscle cramps are witnessed in 22–88% of patients with cirrhosis of liver and frequently lead to sleep disturbance with an appalling impact on quality of life. Despite such a high prevalence, there is lack of evidence-based management protocol due to scarcity of trials on treatment options in the literature. This study aimed to review systematically the available therapeutic options for muscle cramps in patients with cirrhosis of liver. Methods: A systematic review of the relevant databases (PubMed, Scopus, Embase, and Web of Science) to identify treatments for muscle cramps in patients with hepatic cirrhosis was performed. Studies meeting the selection criteria were reviewed and assessed for risk of bias and analyzed. Results: Twenty-four publications were identified as eligible for inclusion in this systematic review. Seven randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and 17 prospective studies were included. Taurine, methocarbamol, baclofen, and orphenadrine are relatively safer and effective treatment option for muscle cramps in cirrhosis on the basis of recently conducted RCTs. Moreover, L-carnitine, branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), pregabalin, zinc, and vitamin D are also safe and showed beneficial effects on muscle cramps. However, studies on vitamin E revealed contradictory results. Conclusion: Taurine, BCAAs, orphenadrine, and baclofen are safe and well-tolerated treatment options for muscle cramps in cirrhosis. However, well-designed randomized controlled clinical trials are the need of the hour to determine the most suitable treatment options for skeletal muscle cramps in patients with cirrhosis of liver.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)980-992
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Clinical and Experimental Hepatology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 May 2022


  • chronic liver disease
  • cirrhosis
  • cramp
  • muscle cramp


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