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Generic Name: caffeine (KAF een)
Brand Name: Alert, No Doz, Pep-Back Peak Performance, Stay Awake, Vivarin
Dosage Forms: oral gum (200 mg); oral tablet (100 mg; 200 mg)

Medically reviewed by on Nov 17, 2020. Written by Cerner Multum.

What is caffeine?

Caffeine is used to help you feel alert or wakeful when you are tired or drowsy.

Caffeine should not be used as a substitute for sleep.

Caffeine may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

Use exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor.

Before taking this medicine

Caffeine is not approved for use by anyone younger than 12 years old. Caffeine gum should not be used by anyone younger than 18 years old, or anyone who is sensitive to caffeine.

Ask a doctor or pharmacist if caffeine is safe to use if you have ever had:

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

How should I take caffeine?

Use exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor.

Each dose of this product usually contains about as much caffeine as a cup of coffee, a can of cola, or one energy drink.

Do not use more of this product than is recommended on the label. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends not consuming more than a total of 400 milligrams of caffeine per day in any form.

You may take the caffeine tablet with or without food.

Do not chew more than 2 pieces of the caffeine gum at one time. Do not swallow the gum whole.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Since caffeine is used when needed, you may not be on a dosing schedule. Skip any missed dose if it's almost time for your next dose. Do not use two doses at one time.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

Overdose symptoms may include fast heartbeats, trouble sleeping, or feeling nervous or irritable.

What should I avoid while taking caffeine?

Avoid food or drinks that contain caffeine, such as coffee, tea, cola, or chocolate milk.

Caffeine side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using caffeine and call your doctor if you have:

  • ongoing tiredness or drowsiness; or

  • ongoing sleep problems.

Common side effects may include:

  • feeling restless;

  • loss of appetite; or

  • sleep problems (insomnia).

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Caffeine dosing information

Usual Pediatric Dose for Apnea of Prematurity:

Caffeine Citrate:
28 Weeks to Less Than 33 Weeks Gestational Age:
-Loading Dose: 20 mg/kg IV over 30 minutes one time.
-Maintenance Dose: 5 mg/kg orally or IV over 10 minutes every 24 hours.
-Treatment Duration: Safety and efficacy of this drug for treatment of apnea of prematurity have not been established beyond 12 days.

Use: Short-term treatment of apnea of prematurity in infants.

What other drugs will affect caffeine?

Ask a doctor or pharmacist before using caffeine with any other medications, especially tizanidine.

Other drugs may affect caffeine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.

Frequently asked questions

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.