Pure Caffeine: Not Your Regular Cup of Coffee

FDA urges families to stay away from powdered pure caffeine after deaths

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) A federal agency is reaching out to the American public to let them know how to keep their families safe from a potentially dangerous item.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is urging the public to avoid consuming powdered pure caffeine, saying the powder is deceptively strong and is dangerous.

“I cannot say strongly enough how important it is to avoid using powdered pure caffeine,” said Michael Landa, director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, in a statement.

“The people most drawn to it are our children, teenagers, and young adults, especially students who want to work longer to study, athletes who want to improve their performance, and others who want to lose weight.”

One teaspoon of powdered pure caffeine is about the same as 25 cups of coffee and can cause rapid heartbeat, seizures and death, according to the FDA. The product is readily sold through online retailers and is often wrongly perceived by young people to be a safe alternative to energy drinks.

Two young men died this year in separate incidences from overdosing on powdered pure caffeine. Logan James Stiner, 18, was about to graduate, and James Wade Sweatt, 24, was a newlywed when they both took too much of the powder.

Sweatt’s family told the FDA he had purchased the powder so he could avoid the sugar in energy drinks.

The FDA says it is nearly impossible to correctly measure a safe amount of this powder using at-home kitchen tools.

If you experience symptoms related to an adverse reaction to caffeine, such as vomiting, stupor or disorientation, seek medical help immediately.

Review Date: 
December 22, 2014
Last Updated:
March 10, 2015