FDA Investigates Energy Drinks Due to Deaths

Posted at 10:35 PM, Nov 15, 2012
and last updated 2012-11-15 22:35:24-05

Thirteen deaths over four years are under investigation because of a possible link to 5 Hour Energy.


The Food and Drug Administration is looking into 13 deaths and “adverse events” after the consumption of the dietary supplement 5-hour ENERGY, according to an

FDA statement.

Although they have not been able to identify if the drink played a role in the deaths, by law, they are required to look into it.

“The big concern is that these energy drinks have enough stimulants in them that could be triggering people’s hearts to become irregular and cause sudden death.” Electro physiologist Nagib Chalfoun of the Frederik Meijer Heart Center said.

“I think that what’s important is to be aware that each time you have one of these drinks you are actually drinking stimulants, caffeinated products.” He added.

Although specifics are not available in these 13 deaths over a four year period, Chalfoun points out that the caffeine affects everyone differently, especially if they are on medicines or have a sensitivity to caffeine.

“It can make your heart go so fast that it can eventually cause cardiac arrest.” Chalfoun said.

“If we find a relationship between consumption of the product and harm, FDA will take appropriate action to reduce or eliminate the risk,” the FDA said. “While the FDA investigates all reports to the best of its ability, it does not always have access to all the information needed to conclusively determine the cause of the event.

As a dietary supplement, 5-hour ENERGY is not required to disclose the amount of caffeine in its 2-ounce “energy shot.” Instead, the 5-hour ENERGY label lists 1,870 milligrams of an “Energy Blend,” which includes caffeine, taurine and other ingredients.

Marianne and John Schwandt run Maple Valley Market in Trufant, Michigan. While Marianne says she is not the “nutrition police”  she does have a strong opinion about how harmful the stuff may be to her younger customers.

“Who am I to reall

y say or judge what somebody can or can’t have when I think the kids like way too young that I don’t feel comfortable with it, I say no.” she added.

Marianne said she actually has parents that come in and ask her not to sell to their kids.

The distributor of 5-hour ENERGY, Living Essentials LLC, said in a statement: “We recommend on product labels and the 5-hour ENERGY website that individuals consume no more than two bottles of 5-hour ENERGY shots per day, spaced several hours apart. Consumers who have caffeine sensitivities should consult with a physician before taking and can consider the ‘decaf’ version.”

The troubles have also followed Monster Energy drink. Last month, the parents of Anais Fournier, 14, filed a lawsuit alleging that she died after drinking two Monster Energy drinks in a 24-hour period. In her case, an underlying heart condition was complicated by caffeine toxicity, according to the death certificate.

Whether the 13 deaths preliminarily linked to 5-Hour ENERGY were similarly complicated by other medical conditions is under investigation.

In addition to the deaths, there have been a total of 92 patient reports, including 33 hospitalizations, reported as 5-Hour ENERGY adverse events, according to the FDA.