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FDA Urges Consumers To Avoid Pure Caffeine

Last updated March 21, 2015

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

In low to moderate doses, it acts as a stimulant and helps a person feel alert and energetic.

Caffeine is a stimulant that is used to help overcome drowsiness. In low to moderate doses, it helps a person feel alert and energetic. Caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive drug in the world and has been deemed safe in moderate doses by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Not only does caffeine exist in the form meant to be consumed as a beverage, but also as a purified powder form. This powdered form, otherwise known as pure caffeine, is reported to be highly potent even in very small doses.

The deaths of two young men in the USA due to caffeine overdose has put the spotlight on lethal effects of pure caffeine. The relatively unregulated over the counter bulk sale of powdered pure caffeine is a major concern for the FDA, which regulates drugs in the USA.  The FDA’s blog advises consumers to completely avoid any form of pure caffeine.

Youngsters are increasingly drawn to marketing claims by companies promoting pure caffeine in  dietary supplements. The companies claim that the caffeine in the supplement gives a rapid boost to health and mental alertness. According to the FDA, it is virtually impossible to measure a non-lethal dose of pure caffeine using home measuring tools. Thus, these supplements could well contain lethal doses of caffeine and, therefore be potentially dangerous to the impressionable youngsters.

The general public has the most to lose by consuming pure caffeine powder. It is best to heed to the FDA’s advice so that unnecessary problems and tragic events of death can be avoided.


(n.d.). Retrieved March 20, 2015, from http://www.fda.gov/downloads/UCM200805.pdf

Caffeine powder concerns. (n.d.). Retrieved March 20, 2015, from http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/caffeine_powder_concerns

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Fausch, K., Uehlinger, D. E., Jakob, S., & Pasch, A. (2012). Haemodialysis in massive caffeine intoxication. Clinical kidney journal5(2), 150-152.

Grinsztejn, B., Hosseinipour, M. C., Ribaudo, H. J., Swindells, S., Eron, J., Chen, Y. Q., ... & HPTN 052-ACTG Study Team. (2014). Effects of early versus delayed initiation of antiretroviral treatment on clinical outcomes of HIV-1 infection: results from the phase 3 HPTN 052 randomised controlled trial. The Lancet infectious diseases14(4), 281-290.

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: March 21, 2015
Last updated: March 21, 2015