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Why is the FDA Warning About Powdered Caffeine?

The Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning about buying and using pure bulk powdered caffeine. According to their statistics, at least two people have died after ingesting this substance.

What is Powdered Caffeine?

Pure caffeine, whose chemical formula is C8H10N4O2, is a bitter stable with needle-like crystals that dissolve readily in water and alcohol. It is found naturally in plants, but can now be synthesized. Though caffeine supplies a kick to beverages such as coffee, tea, soft drinks and foods such as chocolate, and is an ingredient in some medications, it is a dangerous poison in large doses. It is also difficult for a person who takes pure caffeine to know the exact amount he or she is taking if using measuring utensils found in an average kitchen. This can also lead to overdose and death.

According to the FDA:

A teaspoon of pure powdered caffeine is the same as 28 cups of coffee taken all at once.

Caffeine affects the central nervous system, and too much can overstimulate it to the point where the user experiences convulsions and, as has been seen, death. Caffeine poisoning involves:

    • projectile vomiting
    • gastric distress
    • muscle twitching
    • hallucinations
    • heart palpitations
    • insomnia
    • sensitivity to light
    • psychosis
    • inability to walk
    • anxiety, nervousness
Too much caffeine given intravenously can lead to immediate cardiac arrest and collapse of the body’s vasomotor system. As people age, they become more and more sensitive to caffeine, and they need less of it to get the same stimulant effect.

Caffeine Withdrawal

Caffeine withdrawal begins about 12 hours after the user stops taking it, peaks after one or two days and may take about a week to end. The symptoms are a headache, abdominal pain, pain in the joints, drowsiness, irritability and an overall decrease in energy, motivation and the ability to concentrate. For a person who has been addicted to pure powdered caffeine, these symptoms are far worse than the grouchiness experienced by individuals who miss their usual cup of coffee in the morning.

Treatment for Caffeine Addiction: Inpatient Care
Inpatient care is available for a person suffering from a caffeine addiction. These centers provide structure for the residents and allow them to take advantage of many types of treatments and therapies. One of these treatments might be cognitive behavioral therapy, where the resident is taught to change his or her beliefs and lifestyle to eliminate the abuse of caffeine.
A person in an inpatient care facility attends group and individual therapy as well as group education and other support. They are often given “homework” to help them remember and understand the material that they learned during the day. This might include writing down the warning signs that may lead to a relapse and how to cope with stressors without resorting to drugs. Some inpatient facilities even give vocational counseling to residents or help them earn their GED.

Many people would no doubt be surprised to find that powdered caffeine is such a dangerous and addictive drug when taken in large amounts. Inpatient care can help.

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