Many people enjoy a cup of coffee on a daily basis, and research suggests that moderate amounts of coffee consumption can even be beneficial to our health. Consumption of energy drinks in order to get a little extra boost, on the other hand, can be deadly, causing premature wrongful deaths of otherwise healthy individuals. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration reported that energy drink-related emergency room visits doubled from 2007 to 2011. In 2015, The Journal of the American Medical Association conducted a trial that found participants’ heart rates and blood pressure increased after only one 16-ounce can of Rockstar energy drink, and that long-term use can contribute to cardiovascular problems. And in a recent high-profile case, Anais Fournier, a 14-year-old girl from Maryland, died after ingesting two 24-ounce cans of Monster in one day. After learning that the coroner reported her cause of death as cardiac arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity, the girl’s parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Monster Beverage. These high-octane drinks are so popular that even athletes endorse them, but they can cause lasting effects beyond a jolt of energy.
Less Is More When It Comes to Caffeine
Many energy drinks contain significantly more caffeine than your average cup of coffee. Monster, for example, contains roughly 240 milligrams of caffeine, compared to the 100-150 milligrams found in an eight ounce cup of coffee or the 34 milligrams in a can of Coke. Even healthy adults experience negative side effects when consuming over 400 milligrams, but for children and people with preexisting conditions that may be exacerbated by excessive stimulants, even smaller amounts may be life-threatening. While the FDA requires over-the-counter drugs to include caffeine content, and “conventional foods and beverages,” including sodas, must list caffeine as an ingredient (though not the exact quantity), energy drinks are considered a dietary supplement and thus are not regulated under these standards.
Added Ingredients Can Increase Health Risks
In addition to the excessive caffeine in these energy drinks, many contain additional ingredients that behave as stimulants, which can push daily caffeine intake over recommended limits. One common additive is Guarana, which has a denser caffeine content than coffee, and can provide a dangerous amount of stimulation if ingested in excessive quantities, especially when combined with regular caffeine. In addition, many people combine energy drinks with alcohol. A recent Canadian study found that traumatic brain injuries were associated with consumption of alcohol and energy drinks both separately and when mixed together. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that excess caffeine can mask the effects of alcohol, and other research has shown that mixing energy drinks with alcohol can actually make people want to drink more than if they had simply consumed the alcohol on its own. The CDC estimates that those who consume alcohol with energy drinks are three times more likely to binge drink than those who drink without the added stimulants.
While some companies, including Monster Beverage, have started voluntarily reporting caffeine quantities on labels, the fact is that energy drinks are still considered dietary supplements and are not regulated by the FDA. In the meantime, it is up to you to do your own research, respect your body, and practice caution when ingesting any stimulants that are not regulated.
Contact an Experienced Ocala Product Liability Lawyer
If you have become ill or a loved one has unexpectedly lost his or her life after using a product, we understand that no amount of money can compensate you for the pain and suffering you have experienced, but it is important to consult an experienced lawyer to ensure that you protect your rights before signing any agreement with a product producer which may be liable. John Piccin at the Piccin & Glynn in Ocala can help you navigate this difficult process and ensure that you receive the compensation you may be entitled to. Call John at 352-558-8480 for your free initial case consultation today.