Richard Perez of Miami, Florida, who describes himself as being physically fit and otherwise healthy, suffered a heart attack recently. Now, his doctor says a popular energy drink may be the cause. Perez, 41, says he drank two small one-serving bottles of 5-Hour Energy daily for nearly five years preceding his heart attack. A physician says the energy drink is to blame for the heart attack. Perez is not alone; the Food and Drug Administration announced that it is investigating over a dozen deaths that may be linked to the energy shot. Reports indicate that a lawsuit may surface as more allegations of health conditions linked the drink surface.
Reports say the 5-Hour Energy originally hit store shelves in 2004 and is manufactured and marketed by Living Essentials, LLC. The small bottle contains 2 ounces of caffeine, amino acid, and vitamin-laced liquid that is supposed to give the drinker a steady five hours of constant energy. The shots bear warnings specifying that they are not meant for consumption by children under twelve or pregnant women.
The drink first drew concern when the New York’s attorney general alleged that the company may be falsely advertising the effects and benefits of the drink. On Wednesday, much more serious allegation arose – the Food and Drug Administration announced that it is looking at as many as 13 cases of fatalities that may be linked to the energy supplements. The FDA also said that it is looking into nearly 100 cases where users reported becoming sick or admitted to hospitals when the consumed 5-Hour Energy.
Perez’s case is one of the many cases where 5-Hour Energy drinkers experienced serious side effects. Perez’s heart attack occurred in October and landed him in the hospital. A physician told him that his coronary artery had become completely blocked, triggering the attack, and that his regular consumption of energy drinks was to blame. Perez recounted the visit, saying, “‘you take energy drinks?,’ [the doctor] asked me, and I go ‘Yes I do, I take a lot of [them].’ He goes ‘That’s not good, don’t ever take them again.'”
Perez, who says he is an avid athlete, now has to take a blood thinning medication to maintain his health. He can no longer consume energy drinks but says he has found new, healthier ways to acquire energy, such as eating healthy foods and exercising. “Forty-one years old, I would never have thought that I would have a heart attack at this age,” Perez told reporters. It is unclear whether Perez or any of the other alleged victims will seek a lawsuit against the 5-Hour Energy’s manufacturer.
Meanwhile, Living Essentials, the drink’s manufacturer, has thus far stated that they have never seen evidence suggesting their product can kill. “Living Essentials, LLC is unaware of any deaths proven to have been caused by the consumption of 5 Hour ENERGY®,” a spokesperson said in a statement. The spokesperson also mentioned that they suggest several safety measures when consuming the shots, including limiting consumption to twice a day with at least five hours in between and testing out a bit of the product before indulging wholly.