While this news item focuses on the dangers of kids using stimulant chewing gum, the real issue is too much caffeine intake by kids, in whatever form, chewing gum, energy drinks, coffee, sodas, or candy. Parents should monitor caffeine intake by their kids, particularly those who are more caffeine sensitive.

Stimulant chewing gum can be dangerous if used excessively by children and teens, warn doctors who wrote a case report about a teenage boy who was hospitalized after chewing a large amount of the caffeine-containing gum.

The case involved a 13-year-old Italian boy who was taken to hospital after his family noted he was agitated and aggressive, which wasn't typical for him. The boy also had abdominal discomfort, increased and painful urination, and prickling sensations in his legs.

The doctors later learned that the boy had consumed two packets of stimulant chewing gum within a four-hour period. The two packs of gum contained a total of 320 milligrams of caffeine, slightly more than three regular cups of coffee.

The boy met the criteria for diagnosis of caffeine intoxication, said the doctors.

"Our patient…presumably had high caffeine sensitivity in view of his low habitual caffeine intake, so 320 mg was a substantial amount of caffeine," wrote Francesco Natale, of the Second University of Naples and Monaldi Hospital in Naples, and colleagues.

Source: MedicineNet (Health Day News)
http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=100790