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Researchers from the Royal Free Medical School and University College London found that people taking quinine for more than a year were 25 per cent more than likely to die early than those not taking the drug Even small amounts of quinine in tonic water could tip the balance over time.
Prof Irwin said: ‘A couple of daily G&Ts wouldn’t ordinarily matter because the amount in soft drinks is small, but if you are already taking quinine medicinally then it could increase your risk.’The new study, published in the Journal Of The American Medical Association, adds to mounting evidence of the dangers of quinine.
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 also known to affect clotting and may cause a heart attack or stroke by causing an artery to become blocked.
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.
It is often given for muscle discomfort, which alongside cramps includes restless leg syndrome – a common condition of the nervous system that causes an irresistible urge to move the legs, or an unpleasant crawling or creeping sensation in the feet, calves and thighs.
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