Suicides by ingestion of pure caffeine powder. New challenge for public health?

  Vol. 40 (Suppl1) 2019 Neuro endocrinology letters Journal Article   2019; 40(Suppl1): 11-16 PubMed PMID:  31785221    Citation

OBJECTIVES: Intentional or unintentional caffeine abuse due to excessive intake of energy beverages is frequent. Fatalities due to caffeine intoxication are presented rarely. Over the last years, cases of caffeine ingestion for purposes of committing suicide have been reported in scientific literature. DESIGN: The aim of this case study is to report a fatal case of a 26-year-old man who intentionally ingested pure caffeine powder. METHODS: Standard autopsy, microscopic examination and toxicological examination using screening method, TLC, GC, and GC/MS were performed. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: The presence of caffeine only at the concentration of 362 ug/mL in blood and 187 ug/mL in urine was revealed. The cause of death was cardiac arrest most likely due to ventricular dysrhythmia. The concentration of caffeine determined in the femoral blood of the decedent was three times higher than the lethal concentrations reported in other published case studies. Based on the investigated circumstances, the manner of death was evaluated as a suicide.

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