I have some caffeine tablets and I want to extract the pure caffeine from the rest of the ingredients (caffeine 200 mg. Inactive ingredients in order are corn starch, dextrose, dicalcium phosphate, D&C yellow #10 aluminum lake, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, silica gel).

I assume the result would be aqueous solution but any method which works would be great.

  • $\begingroup$ these? If so, they should be yellow, judging by that artificial coloring ingredient. $\endgroup$ – Leonardo Sep 7 '12 at 14:36
  • $\begingroup$ If pure caffeine is all you want, and you're just mentioning these tablets because you have some and they seem like a good source, you might as well just buy some food-grade, from somewhere like here. It's pretty cheap and pretty widely available (at least from online stores) in the US, Canada, and the UK, at least. Careful with quantities, though, it's dangerous stuff. $\endgroup$ – Aesin Sep 7 '12 at 18:31
  • $\begingroup$ @Leonardo Yes very similar to those but not quite identical i.imgur.com/LVvIR.jpg (This is the front of the tablets.) $\endgroup$ – idonutunderstand Sep 8 '12 at 0:07
  • $\begingroup$ @AbstractionOfMe - The caffeine could probably be obtained by one or more separatory funnel extractions with an organic/aqueous solvent system, assuming you can perform one safely. $\endgroup$ – Richard Terrett Sep 8 '12 at 8:09
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    $\begingroup$ I made this question a little more generic. I think this is a common experiment in some intro level organic labs, so it might have some good information for someone. Otherwise, I think we'd like to discourage people from experimenting with something they might consume. $\endgroup$ – jonsca Sep 8 '12 at 9:26

The best option would be an organic extraction with dichloromethane. All the other ingredients (except possibly D&C yellow #10 aluminum lake) will be insoluble and therefore unaffected. Filter, let the dichloromethane evaporate and you should have your caffeine.

EDIT: I agree with J M. This caffeine IS NOT EDIBLE. You could easily become intoxicated by the small amounts of dichloromethane that will remain. Also be careful when handling the dichloromethane. Vapors are also toxic and if the liquid is heated or shaken in a closed recipient it might explode. Use caution.

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    $\begingroup$ If you do this, please DO NOT CONSUME the caffeine afterwards. That cannot be stressed enough. $\endgroup$ – J M Sep 12 '12 at 18:13
  • $\begingroup$ re: "You could easily become intoxicated by the small amounts of dichloromethane that will remain." NO! it should be "You could easily become poisoned by the small amounts of dichloromethane that will remain." $\endgroup$ – MaxW Feb 19 '16 at 5:39

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