Caffeine-induced hypokalemic paralysis in pregnancy

Obstet Gynecol. 2001 May;97(5 Pt 2):805-7. doi: 10.1016/s0029-7844(00)01210-2.


Background: Excessive ingestion of caffeine can induce hypokalemia, which affects the neuromuscular system and can lead to paralysis.

Case: A 24-year-old woman, gravida 3, para 2-0-0-2 at 33 weeks' gestation presented with muscular paralysis and hypokalemia secondary to drinking 6 to 7 L of cola per day with little other oral intake. After potassium replacement and stopping caffeine ingestion, the symptoms resolved quickly.

Conclusion: The physiologic changes of pregnancy might potentiate the effect of caffeine on serum potassium concentration.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Caffeine / adverse effects*
  • Carbonated Beverages / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypokalemia / chemically induced*
  • Hypokalemia / therapy*
  • Paralysis / chemically induced*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / chemically induced*
  • Pregnancy Complications / therapy*
  • Prenatal Care


  • Caffeine