Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant. It works by stimulating the brain. Caffeine is found naturally in foods and beverages such as coffee, tea, colas, energy and chocolate. Botanical sources of caffeine include kola nuts, guarana, and yerba mate. Caffeine is also available in prescription and non-prescription medications.
Caffeine is used to restore mental alertness or wakefulness during fatigue or drowsiness. Caffeine is also found in some headache and migraine medications, in certain dietary supplements used for weight loss, and in many popular energy drinks.
Caffeine citrate (Cafcit) is available by prescription only. It is used for short-term treatment of neonatal apnea (breathing problems).
Caffeine may also be used for other conditions as determined by your health care provider.
Important safety information
- Caffeine may cause dizziness. Do not drive or operate machinery, or engage in dangerous tasks until you know how caffeine might affect you.
- Avoid large amounts of caffeine-containing foods and beverages, such as coffee, tea, cocoa, cola drinks, energy drinks and chocolate if you are taking higher doses of caffeine tablets. This also includes any herbal, dietary, or prescription medications that contain caffeine.
- Caffeine is not to be used as a substitute for sleep.
- Caffeine use may alter blood sugar levels. Diabetes patients should more closely regulate their blood sugar while taking caffeine.
- Caffeine is not recommended for use in children less than 12 years of age. Safety and effectiveness in this age group have not been confirmed.
- If you are pregnant, discuss with your health care provider if caffeine is appropriate for your use.
- Caffeine is excreted into breast milk. Consult with your health care provider about the risks of using caffeine while you are breast-feeding. Caffeine may cause side effects in your baby.
- difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
- nervousness or anxiety
Seek medical attention right away if any of these severe side effects occur:
- serious allergic reactions (difficult breathing, chest tightness, swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue, rash, hives, or itching)
- rapid heart rate or palpitations
- increased blood pressure
- chest pain
- If you have any questions about caffeine, please talk with your health care provider.
- If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your health care provider.
- Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.