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Caffeine Use


Caffeine is a stimulant that gives you a burst of energy and keeps you awake. Caffeine can also raise your blood pressure and heart rate. Caffeine occurs naturally in cocoa beans, tea leaves, and coffee beans. It is also added to drinks, food, supplements, medicines, and herbal products.


Side effects of caffeine:

Large amounts of caffeine may cause an upset stomach, shakiness, dizziness, headaches, and trouble focusing and sleeping. The amount of caffeine that would cause these side effects depends on how sensitive you are to caffeine. It also depends on how much caffeine you normally have. You may have side effects with only 1 cup of coffee if you normally do not have caffeine.

Safe intake of caffeine:

Caffeine is measured in milligrams (mg). A safe amount for healthy adults is less than 400 mg per day. Pregnant women should limit their caffeine intake to less than 200 mg per day. People with certain medical conditions, children, and older adults may be more sensitive to the effects of caffeine. Talk to your healthcare provider about the amount of caffeine that is safe for you.

Amount of caffeine found in drinks, foods, and medicines:

The following list shows the general amount of caffeine that is found in foods, beverages, and medicines. Different brands may have slightly different amounts of caffeine.

  • 16 ounces of energy drinks: 50 mg to 500 mg
  • 12 ounces of caffeinated soda: 23 to 64 mg
  • 5 ounces of coffee (brewed, drip): 60 to 150 mg
  • 6 ounces of instant coffee: 74 mg
  • 5 ounces of brewed tea: 40 to 80 mg
  • 8 ounces of instant tea: 20 to 30 mg
  • 1 bar (41 grams) of dark chocolate: 31 mg
  • 1 ounce of milk chocolate: 1 to 15 mg
  • 5 ounces of hot cocoa: 1 to 8 mg
  • 4 ounces of coffee ice cream: 1 to 45 grams
  • Weight loss medicine: 300 mg
  • Medicines for drowsiness: 200 mg
  • Pain relievers: 64 to 130 mg
  • Medicine for premenstrual symptoms: 120 mg

Symptoms of caffeine withdrawal:

Caffeine withdrawal can occur if you drink more than 200 mg of caffeine each day for at least 2 weeks and then stop. It can occur within 24 hours of stopping or delaying your intake of caffeine. Symptoms of caffeine withdrawal may include headache, sleepiness, nausea, and muscle aches. You may also have trouble concentrating and feel irritable or depressed.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.