Caffeine Intoxication and Addiction

Holly Pohler


Journal for Nurse Practitioners. 2010;6(1):49-52. 

In This Article


Caffeine intoxication may manifest itself in many ways and is often difficult to distinguish in the presence of a vague patient history or chief complaint. Virtually every organ system is affected when caffeine is taken in excess (Table 1). Patients with caffeine intoxication often present with nausea and emesis that can be difficult to control. Additionally, less severe characteristic symptoms of high consumption of caffeine originate from the stimulatory and psychoactive properties of the drug. Patients may complain of agitation, nervousness, headache, tremor, and sleep disturbances. More life-threatening manifestations that require additional testing and treatment include tachydysrhythmias and electrolyte disturbances, including hypokalemia, hypomagnesemia, and hypophosphatemia. Hyperglycemia, metabolic acidosis with increased serum lactate, and seizures may also occur.[4] The clinical presentation typically resolves between 4 to 6 hours after consumption.


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