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Caffeine Side Effects

In Summary

More frequently reported side effects include: necrotizing enterocolitis. See below for a comprehensive list of adverse effects.

For the Consumer

Applies to caffeine: oral capsule, oral capsule extended release, oral packet, oral powder for suspension, oral solution, oral tablet, oral tablet chewable, oral tablet enteric coated, oral tablet extended release

Other dosage forms:

In addition to its needed effects, some unwanted effects may be caused by caffeine. In the event that any of these side effects do occur, they may require medical attention.

Major Side Effects

You should check with your doctor immediately if any of these side effects occur when taking caffeine:

More common:
  • Feeding intolerance
Less common:
  • Agitation
  • black, tarry stools
  • blood in the stools or urine
  • bruising
  • burning feeling or tenderness in the stomach
  • chills
  • coma
  • confusion
  • coughing or vomiting blood
  • decreased urine output
  • depression
  • dizziness
  • fainting
  • fast heartbeat
  • fever
  • headache
  • hostility
  • indigestion
  • irritability
  • lethargy
  • lightheadedness
  • muscle twitching
  • nausea
  • persistent bleeding
  • rapid, shallow breathing
  • rapid weight gain
  • rash
  • seizures
  • severe stomach pain
  • stomach upset
  • stupor
  • swelling of the face, ankles, or hands
  • trouble breathing
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • vomiting
  • vomiting of blood or material that looks like coffee grounds

If any of the following symptoms of overdose occur while taking caffeine, get emergency help immediately:

Symptoms of overdose:
  • Irritability
  • nervousness
  • rapid heartbeat
  • trouble sleeping

Minor Side Effects

Some of the side effects that can occur with caffeine may not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the medicine during treatment these side effects may go away. Your health care professional may also be able to tell you about ways to reduce or prevent some of these side effects. If any of the following side effects continue, are bothersome or if you have any questions about them, check with your health care professional:

More common:
  • Rash
Less common:
  • Dry skin

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to caffeine: compounding powder, intravenous solution, oral gum, oral liquid, oral tablet, oral tablet dispersible, oral tablet extended release

Gastrointestinal

Very common (10% or more): Constipation (up to 17.4%)
Common (1% to 10%): Necrotizing enterocolitis, gastritis, GI hemorrhage, gastroesophageal reflux, dilated bowel loops
Frequency not reported: Increased gastric aspirate, GI intolerance, vomiting, regurgitation[Ref]

General

Long-term follow-up studies have not shown caffeine to adversely affect neurological development or growth parameters.[Ref]

Cardiovascular

Common (1% to 10%): Hemorrhage, tachycardia
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Arrhythmia
Frequency not reported: Increased left ventricular output, increased stroke volume, hypertension[Ref]

Dermatologic

Common (1% to 10%): Rash, dry skin, skin breakdown[Ref]

Hematologic

Common (1% to 10%): Disseminated intravascular coagulation, anemia
Frequency not reported: Decreased hemoglobin[Ref]

Hepatic

Common (1% to 10%): Kidney failure[Ref]

Metabolic

Common (1% to 10%): Acidosis, hyperglycemia
Frequency not reported: Hypoglycemia, temporary reduced weight gain, decreased thyroxine[Ref]

Nervous system

Common (1% to 10%): Cerebral hemorrhage
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Convulsions/seizures
Frequency not reported: Irritability, restlessness, jitteriness, tremors, brain injury[Ref]

Ocular

Common (1% to 10%): Retinopathy of prematurity[Ref]

Other

Common (1% to 10%): Perinatal disorder (trace aspirates, feeding intolerances), injection site reaction, sepsis, accidental injury, abnormal healing, infusion site phlebitis and inflammation
Frequency not reported: Failure to thrive, deafness[Ref]

Respiratory

Common (1% to 10%): Dyspnea, lung edema
Frequency not reported: Tachypnea[Ref]

Hypersensitivity

Rare (less than 0.1%): Hypersensitivity reaction[Ref]

Renal

Frequency not reported: Increased urine flow rate, increased creatinine clearance, increased sodium and calcium excretion[Ref]

References

1. "Product Information. Cafcit (caffeine)" Roxane Laboratories Inc, Columbus, OH.

Not all side effects for caffeine may be reported. You should always consult a doctor or healthcare professional for medical advice. Side effects can be reported to the FDA here.

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