Caffeine is a methylxanthine compound used medicinally to stimulate the central nervous system in combating fatigue and drowsiness. Caffeine also stimulates skeletal muscle contraction and gastric secretion. Caffeine has a medical indication for the management of neonatal apnoea, and may also have a role in sports medicine with ongoing research on its use to enhance endurance in elite athletes.
Caffeine occurs naturally in the leaves, nuts and seeds of plants. Guarana derivatives, available in many forms in Australia, are produced from the guarana plant seeds (which contain 3.6-5.8% caffeine). In Australia, if caffeine (or guarana) is added to a product then the food must be labelled to indicate that it contains caffeine.
The 2009 RGH E-Bulletins are archived here.
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A joint initiative of the Patient Services Section and the Drug and Therapeutics Information Service of the Pharmacy Department, Repatriation General Hospital, Daw Park, South Australia. The RGH Pharmacy E-Bulletin is distributed in electronic format on a weekly basis, and aims to present concise, factual information on issues of current interest in therapeutics, drug safety and cost-effective use of medications.
Editor: Assoc. Prof. Chris Alderman, University of South Australia – Director of Pharmacy, RGH © Pharmacy Department, Repatriation General Hospital, Daw Park, South Australia 5041.