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Caffeine (Cafcit)

How does this medicine work?

Caffeine is given to help breathing in premature infants whose immature breathing patterns cause apnea (the infant stops breathing for short periods).

How should I give it?

Caffeine is usually given once a day with the first morning feeding. Give it at regular times to keep a steady level in the bloodstream. Your child should be awake and alert when taking any medicine.

___ Draw up the correct amount in the medicine dropper or oral syringe.

___ For infants younger than 1 year, mix the medicine with a small amount of formula or breast milk and give it with a bottle nipple before a feeding. Do not add medicine to a whole bottle because if your baby does not finish it, you will not know how much of the medicine was taken.

Other instructions:



Are there any precautions with food or other medicines?

Caffeine should be taken with food.

Check with the doctor or pharmacist if your child is taking other medicines.

What should I do if a dose is missed?

If a dose is missed, give it with the next feeding. Call the clinic if you forget to give the medicine for a whole day. Never give a double dose.

If your child vomits (throws up) within 1 hour after taking the caffeine, call the clinic.

What are the side effects?

Your child may have some side effects such as:

  • increased spitting up
  • acting jittery or irritable (crabby)
  • restless or irregular sleep
  • fast heartbeat

When should I call the clinic?

  • heartbeat faster than usual
  • tremors or twitching
  • unable to sleep
  • increased apnea

What else do I need to know?

Caffeine solution may be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator out of children's reach.

Before giving the first dose, read the label. Be sure it is what was prescribed. After a refill, if the medicine looks different to you, ask your pharmacist about it before giving it.

Check the label and expiration date before giving each dose. Ask your pharmacist what to do with outdated or unused medicines. If there is no "take-back" program, flush outdated medicine down the toilet or put it in the garbage.

You and your child should know the names of all the medicines he or she is taking. Share this information with anyone involved in your child's care.

Always make sure you have enough medicine on hand. Each time you refill your prescriptions, check to see how many refills are left. If no refills are left, the pharmacy will need 2 or 3 days to contact the clinic to renew the prescription.

If too much or the wrong kind of medicine is taken, call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222. If your child is unconscious or has a seizure, call 911.


This is not specific to your child but provides general information. If you have any questions, please call the clinic or pharmacy.

Last reviewed 8/2015 ©Copyright 

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This page is not specific to your child, but provides general information on the topic above. If you have any questions, please call your clinic. For more reading material about this and other health topics, please call or visit Children's Minnesota Family Resource Center library, or visit

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