Caffeine is a weakly basic alkaloid that occurs naturally in coffee and cocoa beans, kola nuts and tea leaves in amounts of up to 2% by weight. It is a mild central nervous system stimulant that also produces diuresis, myocardial and respiratory stimulation and coronary vessel dilation. Caffeine is frequently administered orally in analgesic mixtures, migraine remedies and antisoporific preperations in amounts of 32 -200 mg; it is occasionally used to reverse central depression in adults by i.m injection of 0.5 – 1.0 g or apnea in premature infants by i.v injection of 15 – 20 mg/kg.
Caffeine in excess can cause flushing or chills, irritability, loss of appetite, weakness, tremor, tachycardia, vomiting, fever, convulsions, cardiac arrhythmias, coma and death.
Since daily doses and an extended half-life in premature babies generally result in stable drug levels, the sample collected is usually a random level, not a trough level.
Caffeine measured by HPLC-DAD.
Serum from gel tubes (yellow top) will NOT be analysed.
Therapeutic range: 4.0 – 10.0 mg/L. Toxic effects are associated with blood concentrations greater than 15 mg/L. (Schulz et al. Critical Care 2012, 16:R136).
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