Pathology Handbook




Clinical Indications

Caffeine is used in neonates as a CNS stimulant to treat apnoea of prematurity. It is used in preference to theophylline since dose regimes are simpler, effects more predictable and toxicity is less of a problem. 

The reduced toxicity of caffeine and more predictable effects combine to reduce the need for therapeutic monitoring and a satisfactory clinical response can usually be obtained on standard dose regimes without the need for monitoring

Request Form

Request on ICE


Analysed by referral laboratory if specific criteria met.

Specific Criteria

Monitoring is rarely useful but may be valuable if response is inadequate despite apparently adequate dosing or if unexpected toxicity develops. Symptoms of toxicity in neonates include jitteriness and gastrointestinal disturbance.

Patient Preparation

Samples should be collected 90-120 minutes post-dose, i.e. at peak levels

Turnaround Time

7 days.


Serum in red top tube.


minumum 2ml


Vacutainer red top

Lab Handling

Aliquot and store at 4C. Samples should be posted as soon as possible.

Sent to referral laboratory (Llandough Toxicology Laboratory)

Causes for Rejection

Unlabelled or incorrectly labelled sample; not meeting specific criteria for analysis; inadequate clinical information; incorrect sample type.

Reference Range

Target Range: 5-20 mg/L

Unit Conversion

To convert from mg/L to µmol/L multiply by 5.15