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What is Caffeine?

Caffeine occurs naturally in about 60 species of plant, including coffee beans, tea leaves, and cocoa nuts. It is a constituent of chocolate bars, coffee, tea, and cola-type drinks and occurs in the following approximate amounts:CAFFEINE PER AVERAGE CUP OR BAR (MG) ground coffee 90 instant coffee 60 decaffeinated coffee 3 tea 40 cola 40 chocolate bar 40

Caffeine is a mildly addictive drug. It acts as a stimulant, increasing blood pressure, and accelerating heart rate and breathing. It also makes you feel more alert and energetic.

High caffeine consumption prior to competition is banned by the International Olympic Committee because it improves performance artificially and it may be harmful if taken in excess. Concentrations above 12 micrograms per millilitre are regarded as positive indicators of doping.

Caffeine may boost athletic performance by improving muscle strength and reaction times. Drinking as little as two cups of coffee may enable athletes of average ability to run the 1500 metres several seconds faster. Coffee may also improve endurance and delay fatigue by mobilizing free fatty acids, making them more readily available as fuel. A high carbohydrate diet appears to nullify this effect.

Excessive caffeine intake can cause sleeplessness, diarrhoea, fluid loss, and stomach irritation. Many researchers have tried to link high caffeine consumption to an increased risk of certain diseases, such as cancer, high blood pressure, and heart disease. As yet, the links have not been confirmed and some of the evidence is contradictory. However, there is a well-established correlation between heart disease and those who both smoke and have high levels of caffeine consumption. Caffeine, when consumed at the same time as other foods, may also interfere with the absorption of minerals, such as calcium and iron. Loss of bone density associated with ageing in adults, may be accelerated by drinking two or more cups of coffee a day. Coffee also acts as a diuretic, increasing urine production by as much as 30 per cent.

Although there is still some uncertainty about the effects of caffeine, the general medical opinion is that between 200-250 milligrams of caffeine a day rarely cause adverse reactions in healthy adults. It also appears that caffeine consumed during exercise (rather than before or after it) has little effect on heart rate, performance, or urine production.

What are caffeine tablets or caplets?
CAFFEINE (Enerjets®, NoDoz®, Snap-Back®, Stay-Alert®, Vivarin®) acts as a central nervous system (CNS) or brain stimulant, increasing alertness in people who are tired or sleepy. Caffeine occurs naturally in tea, coffee, cocoa, and chocolate, and is added to many soft drinks. Generic forms of caffeine are available, and can be obtained without a prescription.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
• anxiety • diabetes • heart disease or irregular heartbeat • high blood pressure • kidney disease • liver disease • panic attacks • peptic ulcer disease or colitis • seizure disorder • thyroid disease • trouble sleeping• an unusual or allergic reaction to caffeine, aminophylline, theophylline, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives • pregnant or trying to get pregnant • breast-feeding

How should I take this medicine?
Take caffeine tablets or caplets by mouth. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Swallow with a drink of water; do not take with grapefruit juice. If you are taking an extended-release form of caffeine, swallow whole, do not crush or chew. If you are taking chewable tablets, chew well and swallow. Do not take your medicine more often than directed. Do not stop taking except on your prescriber's advice.

Contact your pediatrician or health care professional regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What drug(s) may interact with caffeine?
• cimetidine • ciprofloxacin • clarithromycin • clozapine • ephedra, Ma huang • erythromycin • female hormones, like estrogen or birth control pills • fluvoxamine • grapefruit juice • guarana • ketoconazole • lithium • medicines called MAO inhibitors-phenelzine, tranylcypromine, isocarboxazid, selegiline • medicines for colds and breathing difficulties • medicines for sleep • medicines for weight loss • phenobarbital • phenytoin • rifampin • stimulants like amphetamine, dextroamphetamine, methylphenidate • tacrine • terbinafine • theophylline

Tell your prescriber or health care professional about all other medicines you are taking, including non-prescription medicines, nutritional supplements, or herbal products. Also tell your prescriber or health care professional if you are a frequent user of drinks with caffeine or alcohol, if you smoke, or if you use illegal drugs. These may affect the way your medicine works. Check with your health care professional before stopping or starting any of your medicines.

What should I watch for while taking caffeine?
Caffeine is not intended for long-term use. Do not use caffeine products regularly to make up for lost sleep. Do not increase the dose if tolerance develops; your body will not develop a tolerance to the harmful side effects of caffeine. See your prescriber or health care professional if you continue to experience tiredness or constant sleepiness; this may indicate a problem needing medical attention.

Do not take caffeine close to bedtime. It may prevent you from sleeping.

If you have been a regular caffeine user you can get withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking caffeine. Symptoms include tiredness, dizziness, headache, anxiety, or nervousness. This can be a weekend effect for people who drink a lot of coffee during their working week.

If you are taking caffeine as a part of a medical treatment, avoid food and drinks that contain additional caffeine, like coffee, tea, colas and chocolate.

Do not take caffeine with other non-prescription medicines, especially cold and allergy medicines, without asking your prescriber or health care professional for advice.

Do not take caffeine with grapefruit juice, this can increase the effects of caffeine.

What side effects may I notice from taking caffeine?
Side effects that you should report to your prescriber or health care professional as soon as possible:
• anxiety or panic reactions • confusion • dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting spells • fast or irregular breathing or heartbeat (palpitations) • muscle twitching • nausea and vomiting • seizures (convulsions) • trembling

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your prescriber or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):
• diarrhea • frequent passing of urine • headache • nervousness, restlessness • stomach upset

** Reduce your intake of caffeine if you get any of these side effects. Let your prescriber or health care professional know about them if they do not go away or if they annoy you.

Where can I keep my medicine?
Keep out of the reach of children in a container that small children cannot open.

Store at room temperature between 15 and 30 degrees C (59 and 86 degrees F). Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.

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