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Don't Be A Zombie | Substance Misuse Advice & Information – Info Caffeine

Tea, coffee, caffeine energy drinks such as ‘Monster’ and ‘Redbull’,  and energy tablets such as “Pro Plus”

Legal – There are no legal restrictions on sale or use of caffeine however certain medications which contain caffeine are only available with a Doctor’s prescription

Varies between 50p to over £5 per drink

Stimulant

  • Caffeine can be manufactured in a laboratory but it mainly comes from the Arabian coffee shrub, commercial tea plants, cocoa beans and kola nuts.
  • Tea and cocoa have been drunk for thousands of years. The earliest use was noted in China and coffee was first used in the UK as a medicine but then became very popular to drink in the 1670s.
  • Your liver is the biggest organ in your body. Your liver helps you by taking chemicals (including caffeine) out of your blood.
  • Caffeine based medication that is sold over-the-counter (OTC) has not been proved as safe and effective to use by children under 12 years of age.
  • The average cup of coffee contains 150-200 milligrams (mg) of caffeine per cup; a cup of tea has about 60 mg of caffeine. Cola products have about 30-40 mg of caffeine, and most energy drinks have about 60-70 mg.
  • If you drink coffee for too long it might make you visit the toilet more often.
  • Caffeine affects your heart. It makes your heart beat faster and raises your blood pressure and makes you feel jittery and nervous.
  • Drinking caffeine can give you an upset stomach.
  • Drinking sugary caffeine drinks can rot your teeth.
  • Drinking caffeine can make it difficult for you to sleep.
  • Your brain is the boss of your body. Drinking caffeine can make you have difficulty concentrating or give you a headache.
  • Common side effects of caffeine include difficulty sleeping (insomnia), nervousness or anxiety, irritability, nausea and headaches.
  • Some serious side effects are: serious allergic reactions (difficult breathing, chest tightness, swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue, rash, hives, or itching), diarrhea, vomiting, rapid heart rate or palpitations, increased blood pressure and chest pain.
  • Drinking caffeine drinks during or after exercise can make you feel thirstier because the caffeine affects your body fluids.
  • You shouldn’t mix caffeine with other substances including alcohol.
  • If you want a boost of energy try going for a run or doing a quick 5 minutes of exercise.
  • Cut back on caffeine by drinking water, milk or fruit juice.
  • If you are used to drinking lots of caffeine, you need to reduce the amount you drink rather than just cut it out all together or you may feel tired and worn out until your body gets used to not having caffeine in it.
  • Start buying smaller energy drink cans. You will still get an energy boost without too much caffeine intake. It is recommended that young people only drink one small can of energy drink per day.
  • Sip rather than gulp energy drinks to slow down the release of caffeine.
  • Avoid drinking caffeine drinks in hot weather as they are likely to cause dehydration and make you feel thirstier.
  • Do NOT use caffeine. If you are allergic to any ingredient in caffeine or caffeine products or as a substitute for sleep.
  • You should always tell your Doctor about ANY medical conditions for example,  if you have allergies to caffeine, other medicines, foods, or other substances, or if you are pregnant, or taking any other medication.
  • Caffeine may cause dizziness. Do not drive or operate machinery, or engage in risk taking activities until you know how caffeine can affect you.
  • Avoid using large amounts of foods and beverages that contain caffeine, such as coffee, tea, cocoa, cola drinks, energy drinks and chocolate if you are already taking higher doses of caffeine tablets. This also includes any herbal, dietary, or prescription medications that contain caffeine.
  • Caffeine use may alter blood sugar levels. Those that have diabetes should be mindful of this.
  • Caffeine is found in breast milk if you eat or drink products with caffeine in whilst pregnant. If you are pregnant then you should speak to your doctor about the risks and the side effects on your baby.
  • Do not exceed the recommended dose of caffeine. This can be found on the back of over the counter medication. The usual maximum recommended dose of over the counter caffeine is no more than 200 mg every 3-4 hours, or 1600 mg per day for adults.
  • Do not double-up on your caffeine dose if you should miss the time for next dose.
  • Account for any dietary caffeine that you take from food, drinks and medication.
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