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October 25, 1971

Caffeine and Fluid Retention

Author Affiliations

Fort Pierce, Fla

JAMA. 1971;218(4):596. doi:10.1001/jama.1971.03190170074028

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To the Editor.—  Caffeine has diuretic properties, but no reported observations indicate that it may cause fluid retention. This letter discusses a patient who had fluid retention of ten years' duration which was evidently produced by caffeine.

Report of a Case.—  A 52-year-old housewife had suffered from edema of hands, feet, and ankles for approximately ten years. At times hydrochlorothiazide gave some benefit, but she had not taken this diuretic for about two years, after moving to Florida from New York. In the morning, the swelling in her hands was more prominent, with difficulty in removing finger rings. In the evening she usually had trouble getting her shoes on and off. Her only other complaint was that she had been a "nervous wreck" for years, although she had not been subjected to an unusual emotional stress. She denied shortness of breath on excretion, palpitation, or pain in the chest. She

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