Caffeinated Energy Drinks

February 26, 2018 by: Pediatrics for Parents staff Article Tags: ,

Caffeinated energy drinks are popular among often sleep deprived adolescents. Too much of these drinks can lead to potentially serious conditions-caffeine toxicity and caffeine overdose-and in extreme cases, death.

Adolescents shouldn’t consume more than 100 milligrams of caffeine a day-a limit than easily be exceeded (see table). However, people who regularly consume excessive amounts of caffeine experience symptoms even when they don’t consumer their regular amount of caffeine.

Blood levels of caffeine depend on many factors:
•    Amount consumed
•    Drinker’s age
•    Body weight
•    Normal amount of caffeine consumption
•    Individual metabolic factors

Symptoms of caffeine toxicity include dizziness, increased thirst, insomnia, headache, fever, and irritability. More serious than caffeine toxicity is a caffeine overdose, with symptoms that include trouble breathing, vomiting, hallucinations, confusion, chest pain, irregular or fast heartbeat, uncontrollable muscle movements, and convulsions.

Adolescents are not, physiologically, adults. Among other differences, they metabolize drugs differently than adults. They are more susceptible to the adverse effects of caffeine and more likely to overconsume caffeine-containing products.

Caffeine in Popular Drinks
Item Serving Size Caffeine (mg)
Black Coffee 12 oz 260
Black Tea 8 oz 30-80
Soda 12 oz 30-70
Red Bull 8.3 oz 80
Chocolate Bar (Dark) 1.45 oz 20
NoDoz Caffeine Tablet 1 tablet 200
Excedrin Migraine 1 tablet 65

Article Reference:

European Journal of Pediatrics, 12/15