Students survive massive caffeine overdose

Around 15 grams of caffeine is usually fatal (Getty)
Around 15 grams of caffeine is usually fatal (Getty)

Two British students are lucky to be alive after accidentally being given the equivalent of 300 cups of coffee.

Northumbria University has apologised to the pair and been fined £400,000 (NZ$700,000), reports BBC News.

Alex Rossetta and Luke Parkin, both studying sports science, had volunteered for a study measuring the effects of caffeine on exercise early in 2015.

They were meant to be given 0.3 grams of powdered caffeine - the equivalent of about four 250ml cans of Red Bull. But after a decimal point was misplaced, Mr Rossetto was given 30.7 grams and Mr Parkin, 32 grams.

Previous studies have found even five grams is enough to trigger an overdose, and 15 grams can be fatal.

"The staff were not experienced or competent enough and they had never done it on their own before," said prosecutor Adam Farrar. "The university took no steps to make sure the staff knew how to do it."

The pair experienced "violent" side-effects and were quickly admitted to intensive care and put on dialysis. ITV reports the side-effects lasted for months.

The university cooperated fully with an investigation into the incident, showing "genuine remorse" according to the judge.

Monster Energy was sued earlier this month by a father who said the company's caffeine-heavy flagship drink caused his teenage son's fatal heart attack.