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Coffee & Health

Adverse events reported to the United States Food and Drug Administration related to caffeine-containing products

A R Jagim et al, 2020.
Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Volume 95 (8).
August 6, 2020



To examine differences in the frequency and severity of federally reported adverse events between caffeine-containing and non-caffeine-containing products while also identifying the category of caffeine-containing products associated with the highest frequency and severity of adverse events.

Patients and methods:

All adverse event reports that met specified eligibility criteria and were submitted to the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Adverse Event Reporting System between January 1, 2014, and June 29, 2018, were extracted. In this retrospective observational study, the most severe adverse event experienced, an ordinal variable, was categorized into death, life-threatening, hospitalization/disability, and emergency department visit. A nonproportional odds model was used to compare the odds of caffeine-containing products being associated with more severe adverse events relative to a noncaffeine group. The analysis is of data only from those reporting adverse events and may or may not be representative of the entire population exposed to these products, which is not known from the examined data.


Energy and preworkout products saw a significant increase in the odds of the adverse event experienced being death rather than the other less severe outcomes relative to the noncaffeinated group. Those products, along with weight loss products, had greater odds of the adverse event being death or life-threatening vs the less severe outcomes relative to the noncaffeinated group.


Caffeine-containing products have a greater association with severe adverse events compared with non-caffeine-containing products. Exposure to preworkout and weight loss products had greater odds of being associated with a more serious adverse event relative to noncaffeinated products. Health care practitioners should use these outcomes to better inform and educate patients about the many factors related to caffeine intake and adverse outcomes.

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