Merck

Fatal caffeine overdose: a case report and review of literature.

The American journal of forensic medicine and pathology (2013-11-08)
Seema B Jabbar, Mark G Hanly
ABSTRACT

Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant that is consumed by large numbers of people on a routine basis, usually in the form of coffee or tea. However, if consumed in high doses, this xanthine alkaloid is profoundly toxic and can result in death. Increasingly being sold as a dietary supplement, many people, particularly those in the health and fitness community, where it is touted as a fitness and muscle building aid, are consuming caffeine anhydrous on a daily basis. We report a case of fatal caffeine overdose in a 39-year-old man resulting from the self-administered ingestion of approximately 12 g of pure caffeine anhydrous. Autopsy blood caffeine levels were 350 mg/L. We recommend mandated labeling of pure caffeine anhydrous, highlighting the toxicity risk of ingesting this chemical; and we recommend ensuring that caffeine levels are included in the comprehensive forensic toxicology panel performed on all cases.

MATERIALS
Product Number
Brand
Product Description

Sigma-Aldrich
Caffeine, SAJ special grade, ≥98.5%
Supelco
Caffeine, Pharmaceutical Secondary Standard; Certified Reference Material
Supelco
Caffeine Melting Point Standard, Pharmaceutical Secondary Standard; Certified Reference Material
Sigma-Aldrich
Caffeine, anhydrous, tested according to Ph. Eur.
Supelco
Mettler-Toledo Calibration substance ME 18872, Caffeine, analytical standard, for the calibration of the thermosystem 900, traceable to primary standards (LGC)
Supelco
Caffeine, certified reference material, TraceCERT®
USP
Caffeine melting point standard, United States Pharmacopeia (USP) Reference Standard
Sigma-Aldrich
Caffeine, BioXtra
Sigma-Aldrich
Caffeine, powder, ReagentPlus®
Sigma-Aldrich
Caffeine, meets USP testing specifications, anhydrous
Sigma-Aldrich
Caffeine, Sigma Reference Standard, vial of 250 mg
Sigma-Aldrich
Caffeine, anhydrous, 99%, FCC, FG
USP
Caffeine, United States Pharmacopeia (USP) Reference Standard
Caffeine, European Pharmacopoeia (EP) Reference Standard
Supelco
Caffeine solution, analytical standard, 1.0 mg/mL in methanol
Supelco
Melting point standard 235-237°C, analytical standard
Supelco
Caffeine solution, 1.0 mg/mL in methanol, ampule of 1 mL, certified reference material, Cerilliant®
Caffeine for system suitability, European Pharmacopoeia (EP) Reference Standard