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There are growing concerns over the health risks associated energy drinks and energy supplements, which have been linked to reports of heart problems and even death. Lawsuits allege that many of these products contain inadequate warnings about the potential side effects, yet they are aggressively promoted as safe.
ENERGY DRINK LAWSUIT STATUS: A number of product liability lawsuits, wrongful death lawsuits and class action lawsuits have been filed against makers of energy drinks, such as Monster Energy, Red Bull, Rockstar, Redline and others.
OVERVIEW: Since the turn-of-the-century, the energy drink market has exploded. Twenty years ago there were few energy drinks on the market, such as Jolt Cola. Now, the industry has expanded exponentially, with beverages such as Monster, Redline, Red Bull, Rockstar, Four Loko and Hype. There are also energy supplements like 5-Hour Energy, Redline and others.
The drinks are sold next to traditional colas and soft drinks, but while a typical cola may contain 35 milligrams of caffeine, some energy drinks contain up to 400 milligrams. The size of the cans has also been increasing in recent years and marketing often promotes fast consumption of a large number of drinks.
All of the drinks contain high levels of caffeine and other additives designed to stimulate the body and act as an energy boos. However, concerns have surfaced about the safety of energy drinks, and some are pushing for stronger regulations requiring clearer label warnings about the health risks of high amounts of caffeine and the potential for caffeine toxicity.
Health problems from energy drinks can include an increased heart rate and other complications, including:
- Heart Attack
- Cardiac Arrest
- Cardiac Arrhythmia
ALCOHOLIC ENERGY DRINK SIDE EFFECTS LEAD TO BAN: For a while, the industry expanded into alcoholic energy drinks, like Joose and Liquid Charge. Experts and lawsuits raised concerns that the caffeine in products like MillerCoors’ Sparks masked the intoxicating effects of the alcohol, leading consumers to drink recklessly because they did not feel like they were under the influence.
Eventually, a number of deaths and highly-publicized incidents led to an investigation of alcoholic energy drinks such as Four Loko, and after they began being referred to as “blackout in a can,” an alcoholic energy drink ban was put in place by the FDA in November 2010.
Following the ban, the makers of Four Loko were the target of an alcoholic energy drink wrongful death lawsuit.
NON-ALCOHOLIC ENERGY DRINKS UNDER INVESTIGATION In February 2011, the findings of a study suggested that children and teens who drank energy drinks could be exposing themselves to unnecessary health risks. This was followed by an August 2012 announcement by the makers of Monster energy drinks that they had been targeted by a state attorney investigation.
In October 2012, following the death of a 14-year-old girl who suffered cardiac arrest after drinking two 24-ounce cans of Monster and subsequent lawsuit, the FDA released new information on energy drink adverse event reports that indicated it has received at least 37 complaints involving Monster drinks alone since 2004, and the side effects of Monster energy drinks are suspected as being factors in at least six deaths.
According to allegations raised in the complaint, there has been a spike in the number of emergency room visits each year due to caffeine overdoses, which coincides with the increase in use of energy drinks like Monster among teens and young adults.
Energy drink sales increased 240% between 2004 and 2009, and the number of caffeine overdose emergency visits increased from 1,128 in 2005 to 16,055 in 2008 and 13,114 in 2009. Approximately 56% of those visits involved individuals between 12 and 25 years of age.
In humans, caffeine acts as a central nervous system stimulant, temporarily warding off drowsiness and restoring alertness. Caffeine overdose symptoms are usually recognized by signs of jitters, nausea, anxiety, dizziness, and sometimes vomiting which are best warded off by ingestion of water.
In February 2018 the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) issued a statement saying that energy drinks should not be consumed by, or marketed to, children due to the health risks.