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I'm currently planning out an RPG based on Misfits. Basically young offenders get super powers. I want one of the villains to have a really lame power that they use to become incredibly dangerous. I thought about using a power to caffeinate drinks. If someone used that to super-caffeinate somebody's bloodstream, could that hurt or kill somebody? Or would it not cause any real damage?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

In extreme doses, caffeine can - like almost any substance - cause death. Wikipedia has this to say on the subject:

Extreme overdose can result in death.[59][60] The median lethal dose (LD50) given orally is 192 milligrams per kilogram in rats. The LD50 of caffeine in humans is dependent on individual sensitivity, but is estimated to be about 150 to 200 milligrams per kilogram of body mass or roughly 80 to 100 cups of coffee for an average adult.[61] Though achieving lethal dose of caffeine would be difficult with regular coffee, it is easier to reach high doses with caffeine pills, and the lethal dose can be lower in individuals whose ability to metabolize caffeine is impaired.

You may wish to consult the references mentioned in the Wikipedia article for further details (As we all know, one should not trust Wikipedia too much). Note that caffeine administrated directly to the bloodstream will be more dangerous than the same amounted ingested.

Information on caffeine toxicity can also be found at Medscape. I you need concrete examples, Holmgreen, Norden-Petterson and Ahlner have published case reports on four recent cases of coffeine-related fatalities. (3)

To cover all bases, it should be said that none of the information mentioned should be used to estimate a safe level of caffeine intake.

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