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Caffeine is a very widely used drug. Adults as well as children consume it in the form of coffee, tea, carbonated beverages, and sports drinks. It is found widely in over-the-counter medications, especially pain relievers, diuretics, cold remedies, weight control products, and sport supplements.
Caffeine is used in children medicinally as well. It is given to premature infants to treat apnea of prematurity.
Consumption, and especially overconsumption of caffeine by children can result in significant problems. Caffeine remains active in the body for a significant time after ingestion. The average half-life of caffeine in adults is from 3 to 7 hours, but may vary from several hours to days. Caffeine withdrawal symptoms in children or adolescents can occur after only 2 weeks of daily caffeine use and include irritability, depression, anxiety, fatigue, and headache. It may interact with prescribed stimulant medications for ADHD, and is not recommended for children who take these drugs.