Coffee may guard against seizure‐related respiratory dysfunction

01 Mar 2021
Coffee may guard against seizure‐related respiratory dysfunction

Coffee drinkers are less likely to have seizure‐related respiratory dysfunction, with a dose‐dependent effect, as compared with abstainers, a study reports.

The cross‐sectional analysis included 90 patients with drug‐resistant focal epilepsy, with 323 seizure episodes. All of them had data on focal seizure (FS), valid pulse oximetry (SpO2) measurement, and usual coffee consumption. The latter was obtained using a standardized self‐questionnaire and further classified into the following: none, rare (≤3 cups/week), moderate (4 cups/week to 3 cups/day), and high (≥4 cups/day).

Peri‐ictal hypoxemia (PIH), defined as SpO2 <90 percent for at least 5 seconds, was independently associated with the level of usual coffee consumption (p=0.033) and the antiepileptic drug withdrawal (p=0.004).

Relative to FS in patients who never consumed coffee, the risk of PIH was four times lower in FS in patients with moderate intake (odds ratio [OR], 0.25, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 0.07–0.91; p=0.036) and six times lower in FS in those with high intake (OR, 0.16, 95 percent CI, 0.04–0.66; p=0.011).

However, when PIH occurred, the duration was significantly longer in patients with moderate or high coffee intake than in nonconsumers (p=0.042).

Caffeine interferes with the adenosine pathway, which is involved in regulation of breathing. In the immediate aftermath of a seizure, extracellular concentrations of adenosine are high. Seizure‐related overstimulation of adenosine receptors can promote peri‐ictal apnoea.

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