July 1, 2014 — The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has reported that since late 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received reports of 17 deaths linked to energy drinks with high levels of caffeine.
The reports do not prove that energy drinks caused the deaths. Since 2004, at least 34 deaths have been linked to energy drinks, including 22 linked to 5-Hour Energy, 11 to Monster, and one to Rockstar.
The CPSI also found 56 previously unreported injuries in the FDA adverse event database, including high blood pressure, convulsions, and heart attacks.
Unfortunately, deaths and serious injuries continue to occur. Last month, WFSB reported that energy drinks may have been a factor in the death of 16 year-old Lanna Hamann while she was on vacation in Mexico.
According to Dr. Stacy Fisher, director of complex heart diseases at University of Maryland School of Medicine:
“As I see in my medical practice, energy drinks are clearly causing symptomatic arrhythmias … These new reports of deaths and other injuries raise the level of concern about the adverse effects of energy drinks.”
On June 25, the CSPI also sent a letter (PDF) to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg requesting a health warning to discourage people under 18 from consuming energy drinks. They also want the FDA to require a warning label about the risk of heart attack, convulsions, and other adverse events from excessive caffeine intake.
In November 2012, the FDA confirmed that 150 adverse events were linked to energy drinks, mostly cardiovascular events like abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia), fast heartbeat, chest pain, high blood pressure, and more. Soon afterward, the FDA began investigating the risks of energy drinks in pregnant women and children.
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