The Food and Drug Administration announced Friday that they were investigating a hundred hospitalizations and over a dozen deaths that may be related to the consumption of popular energy drink supplements, most notably 5-Hour Energy. Also cited in the report were Monster Energy and Rockstar Energy drinks. The FDA says the claims stem from “adverse event reports,” though the reports do not list how the drinks may have caused the deaths or medical conditions – only that they are suspected as playing a role.
5-Hour Energy has been on the market for nearly nine years, making its debut in 2004. The drink comes in a small, shot-size bottle that holds two ounces of liquid. The main ingredients include caffeine, vitamins, and amino acids – all of which purport to give the consumer a steady 5 hours of energy. Manoj Bhargava, the founder and CEO of Living Essentials, is credited with the drink’s success. However, over the past week 5-Hour Energy has been all over the news for a darker reason than it’s success; there have been allegations that the product might be linked to 13 deaths over the last four years. The report also associated the drink with 92 adverse health events, which include 32 instances of hospitalized 5-Hour Energy consumers.
Living Essentials responded to the FDA reports, saying it “is unaware of any deaths proven to have been caused by the consumption of 5-Hour Energy. It is important to note that submitting a serious adverse event report to the FDA, according the agency itself, is not construed by FDA as an admission that the dietary supplement was involved, caused or contributed to the adverse event being reported.” The company added that the drink contains a similar amount of caffeine as on cup of coffee. Its website recommends that consumer take no more than two bottles a day, with several hours in between uses. The daily recommended limit of caffeine is around 400 milligrams, and one bottle of 5-Hour Energy contains around 215 milligrams of caffeine.
5-Hour Energy was not the only energy drink targeted by the FDA reports. Monster Energy and Rockstar Energy drinks have been linked to a reported 53 illnesses. However, reports say there is no evidence linking the drinks to any illness or deaths. Instead, the drinks are noted as a “possible cause” in an FDA “adverse event” report.
The drinks may have played a contributing role, if not a primary role, in the reported illnesses and fatalities for which they are blamed. Some authorities suggest that the contents of the drinks may have aggravated an already existent medical condition, causing the consumer to experience a heightening of symptoms, including death.
This effect can be heightened by mixing energy drinks with other unhealthy substances. One report says it is not uncommon from some energy drinks, such as Monster Energy, to be mixed with alcohol and drugs. One popular mixture, for example, is a combination of energy drinks and vodka. Mixing energy drinks with alcohol poses many dangers, as the energy drink may fight off signs of exhaustion after heavy drinking, allowing the consumer to drink more alcohol than they would otherwise.