What is caffeine?

Updated: Aug 21, 2018
  • Author: David Yew, MD; Chief Editor: Michael A Miller, MD  more...
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Answer

Caffeine (1,3,7-trimethylxanthine; see the image below) is the most widely consumed stimulant drug in the world. [1] It is present in a variety of forms: medications, coffee, tea, soft drinks, and chocolate. Because caffeine overdoses, intentional or unintentional, are relatively common in the United States, physicians and other medical personnel must be aware of caffeine toxicity to recognize and treat it appropriately.

Chemical structure of caffeine. Chemical structure of caffeine.

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