The Dangers of Energy Drinks – An Update

A new 5-Hour Energy internet ad misleadingly suggests that the highly caffeinated energy drink is safe. However, our product liability lawyers warn consumers of the dangers associated with the popular energy drink. The drink is reportedly tied to at least 13 deaths.

An investigation by the FDA found that 5-Hour Energy drinks have caused serious and even fatal injuries. Since 2009, the FDA received at least 90 energy drink filings, with at least 30 of them related to grave injuries such as heart attacks, convulsions, and even a spontaneous abortion.

Living Essentials, manufacturer of 5-Hour Energy drinks, has gone to court saying that it discovered an illegal counterfeiting network that sold millions of bottles of fake versions of its 5-Hour energy drink. The secretly authorized raids conducted in October discovered fake drinks in three flavors: Berry, Extra-Strength Berry and Orange. These fake drinks were bottled and shipped to various places in the country.

While the real drink contains 8,333% of the minimum Recommended Daily Intake of vitamin B-12, no sugar, and caffeine equivalent to around the quantity in a 12-ounce cup of coffee. The fake drinks, in different colors, had sugar, no vitamin B-12, and different quantities of caffeine.

More than 1 billion million bottles of the 5-hour Energy drink are sold every week across the U.S. The manufacturer states that its products are not harmful. Furthermore it claims that while the fakes are “potentially dangerous,” the manufacturer is not aware of any serious adverse consequences.

In October 2012, the FDA received five filings related to another energy drink, Monster Energy, manufactured by Monster Beverage Corp. A recent Huffington Post article reports the case of a 14-year-old Maryland girl with a heart disorder who became a victim of Monster Energy. She drank two 24-ounce Monster Energy drinks in one day, fell into a coma, and was declared brain dead six days later. Her family is suing the manufacturer on the grounds that it does not issue proper warnings to the public about the risks of drinks with high caffeine content.

Just how safe are energy drinks? These drinks are very popular because they provide a thrilling energy rush. But they contain a large quantity of caffeine, sugar and other ingredients which could have serious and even fatal consequences. Side effects include an increased or irregular heartbeat, agitation, irritability and seizure, insomnia, and death.

In an article in BU Today, some of the University’s administrators and professors point out that having caffeine-rich energy drinks is not advisable. They say that students should be wary of products that promise energy that is not naturally derived, as from diet and exercise.

According to the Center for Science in Public Interest (CSPINET), one or two 5-ounce cups of coffee are harmless. But a 16 oz. cup of regular coffee has 300 or more milligrams of caffeine which is the same amount as three 5-ounce cups of caffeine. Energy drinks contain more than 40 milligrams of caffeine, and having even a few bottles a day could have adverse effects. This is demonstrated in the case of the unfortunate Maryland teenager. The autopsy reported the cause of death as caffeine toxicity, which affected the pumping function of her heart.

The FDA restricts caffeine levels in soft drinks. However, energy drinks and shots such as 5-Hour Energy go unregulated, because the law considers them diet supplements that are governed by a different set of regulations.

If you or someone you love experienced 5-Hour Energy drink injuries or injuries caused by similar energy drinks such as Monster, our Chicago personal injury lawyers can help you get the compensation you deserve,

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