Chemical Component Summary

FormulaC8 H10 N4 O2
Molecular Weight194.19
Isomeric SMILESCn1cnc2n(C)c(=O)n(C)c(=O)c12

Chemical Details

Formal Charge0
Atom Count24
Chiral Atom Count0
Chiral Atomsn/a
Bond Count25
Aromatic Bond Count10
Leaving Atomsn/a

Drug Info: DrugBank

DrugBank IDDB00201 Different stereochemistry
DescriptionA methylxanthine naturally occurring in some beverages and also used as a pharmacological agent. Caffeine's most notable pharmacological effect is as a central nervous system stimulant, increasing alertness and producing agitation. It also relaxes smooth muscle, stimulates cardiac muscle, stimulates diuresis, and appears to be useful in the treatment of some types of headache. Several cellular actions of caffeine have been observed, but it is not entirely clear how each contributes to its pharmacological profile. Among the most important are inhibition of cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterases, antagonism of adenosine receptors, and modulation of intracellular calcium handling.
  • 1-methyltheobromine
  • 1,3,7-trimethyl-2,6-dioxopurine
  • 1,3,7-trimethylpurine-2,6-dione
  • 1,3,7-trimethylxanthine
  • 3,7-Dihydro-1,3,7-trimethyl-1H-purin-2,6-dion
SaltsCaffeine citrate
Brand Names
  • (extra Strength) Acetaminophen, Caffeine & 8mg Codeine Phosphate Caplets
  • 217
  • 217 Strong Tab
  • 222 Tabl
Affected OrganismHumans and other mammals
IndicationFor management of fatigue, orthostatic hypotension, and for the short term treatment of apnea of prematurity in infants.
PharmacologyCaffeine, a naturally occurring xanthine derivative like theobromine and the bronchodilator theophylline, is used as a CNS stimulant, mild diuretic, and respiratory stimulant (in neonates with apnea of prematurity). Often combined with analgesics or with ergot alkaloids, caffeine is used to treat migraine and other headache types. Over the counter, caffeine is available to treat drowsiness or mild water-weight gain.
Mechanism of actionCaffeine stimulates medullary, vagal, vasomotor, and respiratory centers, promoting bradycardia, vasoconstriction, and increased respiratory rate. This action was previously believed to be due primarily to increased intracellular cyclic 3′,5′-adenosine monophosphate (cyclic AMP) following inhibition of phosphodiesterase, the enzyme that degrades cyclic AMP. It is now thought that xanthines such as caffeine act as antagonists at adenosine-receptors within the plasma membrane of virtually every cell. As adenosine acts as an autocoid, inhibiting the release of neurotransmitters from presynaptic sites but augmenting the actions of norepinephrine or angiotensin, antagonism of adenosine receptors promotes neurotransmitter release. This explains the stimulatory effects of caffeine. Blockade of the adenosine A1 receptor in the heart leads to the accelerated, pronounced "pounding" of the heart upon caffeine intake.
Route of administration
  • Intramuscular; Intravenous
  • Intravenous
  • Intravenous; Oral
  • Oral
  • Rectal
  • Acids, Acyclic
  • Alkaloids
  • Apnea
  • Caffeine and Caffeine Containing Products
  • Carboxylic Acids
  • V04CG30
  • N06BC01
  • 28:08.92
  • 28:20.00
  • 28:20.92
  • 92:02.00*
CAS number58-08-2
Drug Info/Drug Targets: DrugBank 3.0: a comprehensive resource for 'omics' research on drugs. Knox C, Law V, Jewison T, Liu P, Ly S, Frolkis A, Pon A, Banco K, Mak C, Neveu V, Djoumbou Y, Eisner R, Guo AC, Wishart DS. Nucleic Acids Res. 2011 Jan; 39 (Database issue):D1035-41. | PMID:21059682