Why Caffeine Pills Are Better Than Coffee

Death By Caffeine Pills

Caffeine pills are dangerous as they deliver a hug

Caffeine pills are dangerous as they deliver a huge dose of caffeine that can be taken multiple times in a short period of time.

1. The death of a 19-year-old Connecticut resident, James Stone, has been blamed on “caffeine toxicity”. The culprit was a dose of two dozen No-Doz tablets.

From the New Haven Register:

“I don’t want any other parent to go through what my wife and I have been through,” James Stone Sr. said. “It does not say on the bottle that it will kill you. It says right on the box that it’s like a cup of coffee.”

A quick tally of the dose equates to about 4800 mg of caffeine (presumably these were the maximum strength No-Doz). As you can see on the box: “Safe as coffee”.

That’s not really true.

Caffeine in the form of this little pill hits you all at once. Drinking the equivalent amount in coffee takes considerably longer.

This is a tragic story – and serves as a warning. Don’t mess around with caffeine pills – especially if you have high blood pressure issues or heart problems.

2. 26-year-old, Gemma Ann Jones from the UK, was found dead after she consumed 50-100 caffeine-laden pills called EPH25. It appears that this caffeine death was a suicide.

These pills also contain ephedrine and other dangerous supplements as well as 200mg of caffeine. Link

3. Another woman from the UK, Katie Goard, also recently overdosed by taking diet pills. In this case, the pill was called Fat Metaboliser and we are unsure how much caffeine is in each pill, but the coroner established that Katie consumed an equivalent to more than 50 cups of coffee.

Her family also reported that she was also drinking alcohol all evening long prior to her death. Src.

4. 24-year-old Cara Reynolds from the UK recently overdosed on raspberry ketone pills that also contained 160 mg of caffeine each. This was an intentional overdose due to her mental state after breaking up with her boyfriend.

The coroner estimated her blood caffeine level to be equivalent to that of drinking 225 cans of Red Bull. Link.

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Caffeine Pills Are Generally Safe

Caffeine pills are a stimulant drug that acts on your central nervous system to make you feel more rested and alert while helping you focus and improve your athletic performance. In moderate quantities, up to 400mg a day, they’re more than safe.

However, while most people can use them safely, people with chronic diseases such as asthma, insomnia, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and other issues should either lower the amount or not use them a lot.

If you acknowledged that you abuse caffeine or that you’re becoming addicted to it, it’s not safe to quit it all at once. If you plan to withdraw from caffeine use (which you should) your safest bet would be withdrawing slowly and gradually. The good news is that it’s easier and safer to withdraw from caffeine than alcohol.

Luckily, there are a lot of caffeine withdrawal programs that you can participate in and get help on your withdrawal journey. Additionally, getting professional help will allow you to find safer ways to withdraw.

More to Know: Caffeine Pills vs. Coffee: Which Is Better?

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Are Caffeine Pills Safe?

If you’re an adult, you can safely have about 400 mg of caffeine per day. That’s about 3-5 cups of coffee or 2-4 caffeine pills.

It’s hard to overdose on caffeine by drinking coffee; you’d have to drink about 20-30 cups.

But getting too much caffeine from pills is easier because they’re fast and easy. If you keep taking more pills to stay awake and you’re very focused on what you’re doing, you may lose track of how many pills you take.

Taking too many caffeine pills can be dangerous. An overdose of 1-5 grams of caffeine may lead to coma or death.

Snorting Pure Caffeine Powder

Pure caffeine powder is a major concern of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), especially regarding caffeine abuse. Currently available in pill form, it can be crushed and snorted. This white powder looks similar to cocaine and amphetamines.

This “pure form” of caffeine is synthetic and created in a lab. It is marketed to appear safe, however, it is dangerous and can be deadly in small amounts. A teaspoon of pure caffeine powder contains between 3,200-4706 mg of caffeine. A standard cup of coffee has about 95 mg of caffeine, so this pure caffeine powder has as much caffeine as 33-49 cups of coffee.

Two spoonfuls of caffeine powder have been known to kill several people globally and lead to even more being hospitalized due to caffeine overdose.

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The bulk packages of pure caffeine powder have been outlawed by the FDA in the United States. In many cases, the daily maximum for caffeine intake is as little as 1/16 of a teaspoon of the powder, and even a slight miscalculation can be deadly.

Caffeine powders were readily available on Amazon Prime two or three years ago, but now the only available caffeine supplements appear to max out at 220 mg of caffeine per dose. Retailers have been cautioned not to sell products that exceed FDA guidelines.

Another form of caffeine powder was available as Coco Loko and was essentially a chocolate powder snuff. Only available for five months in 2017, Coco Loko quickly came under the radar of the FDA.

The company was required to change all marketing strategies, as the FDA saw their advertising as “glorifying street drugs” and “marketing to young people” for both Coco Loko and their original product, Legal Lean. Both products offered candy-flavored substances administered the same way as the illicit drug it appeared to be modeled after.

Common Side Effects

Caffeine can improve alertness, but it can also lead to a number of unpleasant side effects, including:

  • Restlessness 
  • Nervousness 
  • Excitement 
  • Insomnia 
  • Flushed Face
  • Excessive urination
  • Gastrointestinal disturbances 
  • Muscle twitching
  • Rambling speech
  • Tachycardia or cardiac arrhythmia 
  • Periods of inexhaustibility 
  • Difficulty relaxing

Caffeine can also affect:

Mood: While people often use caffeine to improve mood, excessive caffeine consumption can increase anxiety.

Heart rate: Caffeine speeds up the heart rate with significant effects occurring after consuming 360 mg, the equivalent of about three and a half cups of brewed coffee. In higher doses, caffeine can cause more significant effects on the heart by changing the speed and regularity of your heartbeat. This is known as tachycardia or cardiac arrhythmia and can be serious.

If you think your heartbeat is abnormal, check with your doctor.

Blood pressure: Caffeine consumption may raise blood pressure. This effect of caffeine, known as the "pressor effect," is evident across age and gender groups, and is particularly pronounced in people with hypertension (high blood pressure). If you are unsure of whether this applies to you, ask your doctor about your blood pressure and get their advice on moderating your caffeine intake accordingly.

When caffeine is consumed in large quantities, the side effects can range from unpleasant to severe, sometimes even resulting in caffeine overdose.

Caffeine can also pose dangers when taken with other substances including alcohol. Caffeine use can result in excessive alcohol consumption since the stimulant effects of caffeine mask the depressant effects of alcohol.

What Should I Know Before Using Caffeine?

  • if you have allergies to caffeine, other medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, or herbal or dietary supplement
  • if you have anxiety, agitation or nervousness, liver or stomach (ulcer) problems, insomnia (trouble sleeping), seizures (convulsions), or heart disease, especially any abnormal heart rhythms or high blood pressure
  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • Quinolones (i.e., ciprofloxacin)
  • Theophyllines
  • Duloxetine
  • Ephedra or Guarana
  • Rasagiline
  • Tizanidine

This is NOT a complete drug interaction list. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine. A complete drug interaction check should be completed prior to your use of caffeine or any medication.

Effects Of Caffeine Pills

Like other types of caffeine, caffeine pills reduce sleepiness and increase alertness. 

They can also cause negative side effects such as:

  • anxiety 
  • irritability
  • trouble sleeping
  • dizziness
  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • upset stomach
  • heartburn
  • excessive thirst
  • increased urination
  • increased blood pressure and/or heart rate
  • shivering

Caffeine pills vs energy drinks

The pros of caffeine pills versus energy drinks are:

• price

• ease of consumption

• convenience of packaging

The cons of caffeine pills when compared to energy drinks are:

• the effects

• the added “inactive ingredients”

• how enjoyable they are to consume

• taste

Energy drinks typically contain anywhere between 50mg to 300mg of caffeine per serve.

Each Vivarin pill contains 200mg of caffeine.
Each Vivarin pill contains 200mg of caffeine.

Do caffeine pills dehydrate you?

Yes, consuming caffeine pills increases the risk of dehydration.

In my opinion, the risk of dehydration is the most dangerous thing about consuming a moderate amount of caffeine. That’s just one of the many reasons that I prefer to drink my caffeine instead of swallowing it in a pill.

At least if you drink it you are guaranteeing that you are getting some fluids at the same time as the caffeine which will help guard against dehydration.

Caffeine Pill Abuse

Just because up to 400mg caffeine intake is considered safe, it doesn’t mean it’s safe in the long run. It’s not recommended to take excess amounts of caffeine regularly, as it can lead to more complications.

Caffeine abuse can lead to the aforementioned side effects of taking too much caffeine. In addition to that, it can lead to caffeine addiction. Don’t remember that caffeine is a drug. It is legal, doesn’t make it any less addicting than it is. With that in mind, a high intake of caffeine can lead to severe side effects, but consequences too.

Can You Get Addicted to Caffeine Pills?

A stimulant drug such as caffeine can lead to addiction, and it’s important to recognize it early and be able to find a way to withdraw from the addiction without causing possible side effects. Depending on your metabolic rate and overall health, caffeine may affect you differently.

Caffeine addiction can be particularly worrying and concerning if you suffer from some cardiovascular disease, and other types of problems. Also, it can be risky for people who are falling into a risk group for getting osteoporosis.

Caffeine pills are no exception. Although drinking coffee feels like an experience, caffeine pills are much easier and faster to take. Additionally, they also react faster and cause all the benefits that come with taking caffeine-rich beverages. However, ease of use is exactly what can cause the caffeine addiction.

Symptoms of Caffeine Pill Addiction

Aside from all the symptoms that we highlighted earlier, there are a few other symptoms that can mark caffeine abuse addiction, here they are:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • The excitement and feeling hyperactive
  • Agitation
  • Chronic insomnia
  • Muscle twitching
  • Not having control of your thoughts
  • Stuttering
  • Flushed face
  • Skipping heartbeats
  • Constant feeling of thirst no matter how much water you drink
  • Frequent urination
  • Wide pupils

Caffeine Overdose: Is It Possible?

Unfortunately, caffeine overdose is more than possible, just like with every drug. However, the good news is that it happens so rarely that there’s not a lot of research done on it. Overdosing with caffeine pills is more possible than drinking coffee.

After all, drinking pills is considerably easier than taking other forms of caffeine such as coffee or tea. It could take you as much as 20-30 cups of coffee to get an overdose. Some medical experts suggest that taking one to five grams of caffeine can result in coma or death. Some experts report seeing up to 14,000mg caffeine overdose.

Caffeine pills are often used among students and heavy hustlers who are struggling to stay awake or focused on what they’re doing. However, it’s easier to lose count with caffeine pills than drinking multiple cups of coffee or cans of energy drink.

Some common symptoms of caffeine overdose are:

  • Tachycardia
  • Constant vomiting and dehydration
  • Convulsions
  • Hallucinations
  • Arrhythmia
  • Coma
  • Death

Studies focusing on caffeine pill-induced deaths from 2018 discovered 92 people who died from caffeine overdose. That means that, while rare, it’s more than possible.

Caffeine overdose doesn’t necessarily happen from drinking coffee or tea, but it can happen from caffeine pills and powder (which is more dangerous and shouldn’t be mistaken for caffeine pills)

Caffeine overdose can happen when caffeine pills or powder are mixed with carbonated drinks or energy drinks.

If You Don’t Sleep Well

If you’re not getting enough sleep, it may be best to avoid caffeine pills. You may slip into a cycle of taking pills to stay awake, which interferes with your sleep, then causes a sleep deficit. That may lead to problems staying alert during the day. And the cycle continues.

Talk to your doctor if you have ongoing fatigue, drowsiness, or trouble sleeping.

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