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American Journal of Forensic Medicine & Pathology:
doi: 10.1097/PAF.0000000000000058
Case Reports

Fatal Caffeine Overdose: A Case Report and Review of Literature

Jabbar, Seema B. MSIII, BS*; Hanly, Mark G. MBChB, FRCPath(Lond), FCAP, FASCP

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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.

Copyright © 2013 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins


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