October 15, 2018

FDA Warning Consumers About Highly Concentrated Caffeine Products

The FDA is warning consumers about highly concentrated caffeine products. The agency recently sent warning letters to two online dietary supplement markets for illegally selling this product. The FDA considers these products to be a threat to public health.

Highly Concentrated Caffeine Products

The agency has issued guidance to make it clear that dietary supplements containing pure or highly concentrated caffeine in powder or liquid form are unlawful when sold in bulk quantities directly to consumers. These products carry a high risk of being mistakenly used at dangerous doses. They have been linked to at least two deaths.

One teaspoon of highly concentrated caffeine is equivalent to the amount of caffeine in 28 cups of coffee. A half cup of liquid concentrated caffeine product has about the same amount of caffeine as 20 cups of coffee. It is up to the consumer to measure out a single recommended safe serving of 1/16 of a teaspoon of pure caffeine powder or 2-1/2 teaspoons of the liquid form, when those products are sold in bulk. Caffeine is a powerful stimulant and very small amounts of pure or highly concentrated product can have serious and fatal effects.

In addition, these products look like safe, ordinary household items. Highly concentrated caffeine in clear liquid form could be confused with water or vinegar. Pure powdered caffeine could be confused with flour or powdered sugar.

Symptoms of caffeine overdose can include rapid or dangerously erratic heartbeat, seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, stupor, and disorientation. The symptoms with concentrated or pure caffeine are much more severe than drinking too much coffee or tea.

The agency is also concerned that teenagers and young adults may use these products for their alleged benefits and may not recognize the health risks.

Do not purchase pure and highly concentrated caffeine sold in bulk. If you think you are having a reaction to one of these products, stop consuming it and immediately seek medical care. You can report an adverse event by telling the FDA through the Safety Reporting Portal.

 

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