Fast Five Quiz: Test Your Knowledge of Caffeine Consumption, Toxicity, and Overdose

Richard H. Sinert, DO

Disclosures

January 26, 2018

Caffeine directly stimulates respiratory and vasomotor centers of the brain and acts as an adenosine antagonist, resulting in peripheral vasodilatation and CNS stimulation. Caffeine is a potent releaser of catecholamines (norepinephrine and, to a lesser extent, epinephrine) that increases cardiac chronotropic and inotropic activity, bronchodilation, and peripheral vasodilatation. Caffeine is also a phosphodiesterase inhibitor. However, because extremely high concentrations of caffeine are required to inhibit this enzyme, whether this effect contributes to the clinical effects of caffeine in vivo is unknown.

Caffeine is primarily metabolized by the cytochrome P450 (CYP) oxidase system in the liver. The plasma half-life of caffeine varies considerably from person to person, with an average half-life of 5-8 hours in healthy, nonsmoking adults.

Caffeine is a potent stimulator of gastric acid secretion and GI motility. Caffeine induces a number of metabolic changes, including hyperglycemia (by stimulating gluconeogenesis and glycogenolysis), increased renal filtration, ketosis, and hypokalemia.

For more on caffeine toxicity, read here.

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