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Dr Roger Henderson
Reviewed by Roger HendersonReviewed on 29.04.2024 | 2 minutes read

Caffeine is a stimulant drug naturally found in many plants such as coffee, cocoa and tea. It reduces tiredness and increases alertness by blocking a chemical produced by the body to signal tiredness.

Who is it for?

Caffeine can be used by people over the age of 16 to increase alertness, reduce fatigue & malaise and to enhance pain relief when used with paracetamol.

How does it work?

Caffeine works by blocking the actions of adenosine, a natural chemical produced by the body to signal tiredness. It is often included in many over-the-counter cold and flu remedies due to its effects of reducing fatigue caused by cold or flu, and in combination with other medications such as pain relief. It can also be purchased in tablet form either as synthetic caffeine or as guarana (plant-based caffeine).

Should anyone avoid taking it?

Caffeine should not be used by children under 12 when it is found in cold, flu or pain relief products. Caffeine alone is not recommended for use by anyone under 16 years. Caffeine should also be used with caution in those taking stimulant ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) medication as it can increase side effects of their medication.

Are there any side-effects?

As with any medications, some people are bound to get some unwanted side effects. Some of the common ones include insomnia, anxiety, irritability, nausea, headaches and diarrhoea.

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Dr Roger Henderson
Reviewed by Roger Henderson
Reviewed on 29.04.2024
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