That caffeine is one of the most powerful psychoactive stimulants that we humans have, I think that is beyond doubt, but what exactly is a safe dose and when does it start to be a danger? A recently published medical case reveals what can happen if you have a caffeine overdose.
According to the FDA, one teaspoon of caffeine powder equals approximately 28 cups of coffee, which helps explain why the sale of caffeine powder supplements in bulk has been banned in many countries. In fact, the bans came after a series of deaths linked to a caffeine overdose. Now, a case published in BMJ again warns about the danger of too high a dose.
The story features a 26-year-old patient from the United Kingdom. The woman, unnamed in the case report, was transferred to London’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital after intentionally ingesting two tablespoons of caffeine powder that she had ordered online.
They report in the published study that mild caffeine overdoses of 1-2 grams can cause significant toxic effects, including tachycardia (a heart rate of over 100 beats per minute), disorientation, breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue, hallucinations, or mania.
On the next step we have the largest overdoses, usually associated with too much caffeine, and can be fatal. In fact, fatal overdoses have occurred after ingesting more than 5 grams of caffeine.
The patient in question had taken 20 grams in powder form, which the FDA says is equivalent to about 56 cups of coffee at a time.
When the woman arrived at the hospital she was very distressed, “she had palpitations, sweating, anxiety and difficulty breathing, ” they explain in the report. He had an elevated heart rate of 109 beats per minute, also low blood pressure.
Soon after, her breathing became faster and faster, the patient “felt more agitated”. An ECG showed that he suffered from polymorphic ventricular tachycardia, while other tests showed metabolic acidosis, a serious electrolyte disorder in which acid accumulates in the body.
The first thing the doctors did was an electrolyte replacement for metabolic acidosis, but her condition persisted and she had to be transferred to intensive care. They then sedated her with fentanyl and paralyzed her with rocuronium, and finally fitted her with an invasive ventilator.
Doctors also chose to administer activated charcoal, which binds toxins in the intestine, preventing caffeine from being absorbed into the bloodstream.
After the agony, there was luck. Fortunately, with monitoring and treatments for her heart rate, the woman was released from intensive care after a week and has recovered well under the care of a psychiatric team. ” The patient was very lucky to survive a caffeine overdose, ” they say.
And is that the tests showed caffeine levels at 147.1mg / L, much higher than the 80mg / L that have been seen in other fatal cases of caffeine ingestion. In fact, the doctors noted that since this measurement was taken hours after the woman took the caffeine, it could have been even higher.
“ I went online and bought 1 kg of caffeine powder for £ 29.99 with next day delivery. My family and I are surprised that you can buy such a dangerous amount of caffeine so easily and cheaply, ”said the patient after leaving the hospital.