Dr. Dean

Will Caffeine Pills Harm My Teen Son?

Posting Date: 07/03/2000

Original Broadcast Date: March 15, 2000

Carmen: My teenage son and his friends are taking over-the-counter caffeine pills to stay awake and complete their homework assignments. Is there any harm in this?

Dr. Dean: Caffeine is like anything else, too much of it can kill you. If you pumped 40 cups of coffee all at one time into your body, you'd die. My big concern would be if they are overdosing on the caffeine pills just to get a buzz.

Visit the Caffeine Center

If that's not the case, and if they really are just behind on their homework, you've got to teach your son to break this bad habit, get his homework done ahead of time, and get some sleep.

Now, as a parent, I know that kids don't want to listen to us, but do what you can to discourage his reliance on a stimulant in order to meet his responsibilities. Once these kids go on to college, they'll be tempted to try some more serious drugs to keep them awake.

If he still needs a little boost, see if you can get him to drink coffee instead of taking pills. At least then you will know the amount he's drinking, and coffee has less caffeine than the pills do.