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Keywords:

  • Status epilepticus;
  • Xanthines;
  • Adenosine;
  • Anticonvulsant;
  • Spontaneous seizures;
  • Coffee

Summary: Purpose: To investigate the consequences of caffeine consumption on epileptic seizures, we used the pilocarpine and the kainate models of epilepsy. We hypothesized that prolonged caffeine consumption or its withdrawal would alter adenosine levels and hence alter seizure susceptibility.

Methods: We administered a 0.1% caffeine solution in the drinking water of adult male Wistar rats over a 2-week period. We challenged another group of animals with the same doses of pilocarpine or kainate 12 h after the withdrawal of the same caffeine-administration protocol.

Results: This did not alter the threshold for the induction of seizures by a subconvulsant dose of pilocarpine (200 mg/kg, i.p.) or kainic acid (8 mg/kg, i.p.). Similarly, challenging another group of animals with the same doses of pilocarpine or kainate 12 h after the withdrawal of the same caffeine-administration protocol did not lead to any significant changes in seizures.

Conclusions: With the pilocarpine model of epilepsy, we were not able to find any significant difference in seizure profile that could stem from either caffeine administration or its withdrawal. Despite the extensive laboratory evidence on the convulsant properties of xanthine derivatives in animal models of epilepsy, such strong evidence is lacking in clinical settings. Our current findings with the administration of caffeine at doses similar to those of daily life both support and confirm the clinical experience.