This study is even more evidence we need coffee in IVs

Study analyzes coffee withdrawal in hospital patients 

By Angela Garrity, Guest blogger

Grab that coffee, STAT! This guy claims to know a thing or two about suffering, but a new study presented at this year’s meeting of the European Society of Anesthesiology in Vienna, Austria is opening eyes about unnecessary suffering of ICU patients who are experiencing caffeine withdrawal.

The findings presented in early June are drawing concern that patients in critical care could be undergoing unnecessary lab tests, X-rays and MRI because of their abrupt caffeine withdrawal symptoms.

Drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, headaches and delirium are all symptoms of withdraw and can last for up to 2 weeks. The symptoms resemble conditions such as meningitis, encephalitis, and intracranial hemorrhage, which may confuse clinical diagnosis and result in unnecessary tests which can cause patient harm, cost a lot of money, and waste time.

“Caffeine may be one of the most commonly used and highly addictive substances in modern society, but it is often overlooked as a potential source of significant withdraw symptoms when abruptly discontinued in ICU", explains Associate Professor Maya Belitova from University Hospital "Tsaritsa Yoanna—ISUL, Sofia, Bulgaria who led the research.

More than half of the population of Europe drinks coffee as compared to 64% of Americans getting their daily cup. Last year, Reuters found that Americans are consuming coffee at the highest level since 2012.

Is there a remedy for stopping immediate caffeine consumption and possibly avoiding these symptoms? The Magic 8 Ball answer we got was, “Cannot predict now," so we’ll have to wait this one out a bit. Caffeine benzoate has been successfully used to treat headaches, but substitution in the ICU has a limited evidence base.

Until then, we’ll just continue to survive on Death Wish in our mugs to keep caffeine withdrawal symptoms away. At least until it becomes available in IV form, right? Mugs up!

Angela Garrity is a guest blogger for Death Wish Coffee Co. Her work can be found in Vapun Magazine as well as on their website.

Related: Here's what happens when you have caffeine withdrawal

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