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Caffeine and Sodium Benzoate

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Caffeine and Sodium Benzoate Injection


Caffeine is pharmacologically similar to the other xanthine drugs, such as theobromine and theophylline; however, these three agents differ in the intensity of their actions on various structures. Caffeine's CNS and skeletal muscle effects are greater than those of the other xanthines. In all other areas, theophylline has greater activity than caffeine, although some studies report that caffeine has greater diuretic effect than theobromine. The increased levels of intracellular cyclic-AMP mediate most of caffeine's pharmacologic actions. Caffeine competitively inhibits phosphodiesterase, the enzyme that degrades cyclic 3'- 5' adenosine monophosphate. Caffeine stimulates all levels of the CNS. Caffeine's cortical effects are milder and of shorter duration than those of the amphetamines. In slightly larger doses, caffeine stimulates medullary vagal, vasomotor and respiratory centers, promoting bradycardia, vasoconstriction, and increased respiratory rate. Caffeine produces a positive inotropic effect of the myocardium and a positive chronotropic effect at the sinoatrial node, causing transient increases in heart rate, force of contraction, cardiac output and heart work. doses greater than 250 mg, the centrally mediated vagal effects of caffeine may be masked by increased sinus rates; tachycardia, extrasystoles, or other major ventricular arrhythmias may result.

Caffeine constricts cerebral vasculature. In contrast, the drug directly dilates peripheral blood vessels, decreasing peripheral vascular resistance. The effect of this decrease in peripheral vascular resistance (and possibly that of vagal cardiac stimulation) on blood pressure is offset by increased cardiac output (and possibly stimulation of the medullary vasomotor area). The overall effect of caffeine on heart rate and blood pressure depends on whether CNS or peripheral effects predominate. Therapeutic doses of caffeine increase blood pressure only slightly.

Caffeine stimulates voluntary skeletal muscle, increasing the force of contraction and decreasing muscular fatigue. The drug also stimulates gastric acid secretion from parietal cells. Caffeine increases renal blood flow and glomerular filtration rate and decreases proximal tubular reabsorption of sodium and water, resulting in mild diuresis. Caffeine stimulates glycogenolysis and lipolysis, but increase in blood glucose and in plasma lipids are insignificant in normal patients. Tolerance may develop to the diuretic, cardiovascular, and CNS effects of caffeine.


Caffeine is rapidly distributed throughout the body tissues, readily crossing the placenta and blood-brain barrier. Approximately 17% of the drug is bound to plasma proteins. Caffeine has approximately a half-life (T½) 3-4 hours in adults. In adults, the drug is rapidly metabolized in the liver to 1-methyluric acid, 1-methylxanthine and 7-methylxanthine. Caffeine and its metabolites are excreted primarily by the kidneys.

Last reviewed on RxList: 9/30/2008
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

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