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Caffeine pills lead to hospital stays

October 23, 2006|From Times wire reports

Searching for a legal high or just trying to stay alert, young Americans may be abusing caffeine pills and ending up in the hospital, a study said Monday.

The American College of Emergency Physicians reviewed three years' worth of records at the Illinois Poison Center in Chicago and found more than 250 cases of medical complications from ingesting caffeine supplements. Of those, 12% required hospitalization, including treatment in intensive-care units.

The average age of those who had abused caffeine supplements was 21. The research did not involve caffeine drinks.

"People do not think of caffeine as a drug but rather as a food product," said study author Danielle McCarthy. "We want people ingesting caffeine pills and supplements to know that caffeine is a drug and overuse is potentially harmful."

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