An Ohio teen died suddenly in May due to an overdose of caffeine. He was just a few weeks away from graduating and planned on attending college. The autopsy performed verified the teen had a lethal dose of caffeine, which was labeled his cause of death.
The mother of the teen was shocked and unaware her son was consuming caffeine powder. It is widely available for bulk purchases on the internet, whereas the teens have access to it without parental knowledge.
Recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a safety alert and advisory for consumers to be aware of the dangers of powdered pure caffeine sold on the internet in bulk. The FDA also acknowledged the teen’s death due to the consumption of this product and will be considering regulatory actions.
Pure caffeine is a powerful stimulant. A mere teaspoon of pure powdered caffeine is equivalent to approximately 25 cups of coffee. This small amount may deceive teens in assuming a teaspoon is safe to consume, which may lead to an accidental overdose and possible death. The FDA advises it is nearly impossible to measure the caffeine powder accurately using common kitchen measuring tools.
In addition to the possible measurement miscalculation, individuals with pre-existing heart conditions are more susceptible to serious adverse reactions.
The symptoms of caffeine overdose (toxicity) according to the FDA may include:
Rapid or dangerous erratic heartbeat
Stupor and disorientation
Parents are urged to talk to their teens about the dangers of the widely available powdered caffeine.