The Food and Drug Administration is investigating deaths that may be linked to 5-Hour Energy Drinks. In the past four years, reports of 13 deaths have been cited for the possible involvement of the 5-Hour Energy Drink.
A summary of F.D.A. records obtained by The New York Times showed since 2009, 5-Hour Energy has been mentioned in 90 filings with the F.D.A., including more than 30 that involved serious or life-threatening injuries like heart attacks, convulsions and, in one case, a spontaneous abortion.
5-Hour Energy is sold in 1.9 ounce bottles, known as shots. The label doesn’t state exactly how much caffeine is in one bottle, but in a Consumer Reports investigation they found it could range from 6 mg in their 5-hour Decaf bottles to 242 mg in their 5-hour Energy extra strength bottles. To put that into perspective, an eight-ounce cup of coffee can contain from 100 to 150 milligrams of caffeine, depending how strong it’s made.
Dr. Sean Patrick Nord, USC Director of the Section of Toxicology, told ABC News, “If someone is to use multiple cans, now is when we start to see some of the side effects. You’re getting astronomical amounts, 30 to 40 cups of coffee.”
Along with caffeine, 5-Hour Energy contains other ingredients, like very high levels of certain B vitamins and a substance called taurine.
The energy shot is distributed by closely held Living Essentials LLC and said in a statement that they are “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.”
This isn’t the first for energy drinks to be under investigation by the FDA. In October, Monster energy that contains even more caffeine, was allegedly linked to five deaths.
The main issue is that energy drinks such as, Red Bull, NOS, Full Throttle and Amp are sold under agency rules governing beverages by the FDA; while other energy drinks like 5-Hour and Monster are marketed under “dietary supplements” so they have different ingredient rules and regulation requirements.
In 2007, Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois sponsored the legislation to require energy drinks and dietary supplements makers to report to the FDA of any serious adverse effects associated with their products. He now says the agency is not doing their job in keeping the public informed of potential dangers from these energy drink products. He said the reports citing problems with Monster energy drinks should have prompted some warning from the FDA to the public.
5-Hour Energy Drink Linked To Deaths
5-Hour Energy Drinks Cited in 13 Deaths
Monster Energy Drink Causes Death: ‘Caffeine Toxicity’
Inhalable Caffeine by AeroShot Labeled a Club Drug By Sen. Schumer
Energy Drinks, Risky For Children?
How Redbull’s social marketing on Klout failed in the real world