After regularly drinking four cans of Monster Energy per day, a lawsuit filed against the manufacturer of the popular beverage alleges that side effects of the energy drink caused kidney failure among an Arizona man.
The complaint was filed against Monster Beverage Corp. by Robert Grim, who indicates that he was diagnosed with stage 4 kidney failure from Monster energy, and now requires dialysis treatment and is awaiting a kidney transplant, according to a report by The Daily Beast.
Grim claims that he consumed about four cans of Monster Energy every day for about 10 years, which is not uncommon given the manufacturer’s aggressive marketing of the highly caffeinated beverage in a manner that has led many consumers to believe it is the same as a common soft drink or cup of coffee. However, each can actually contains substantially higher levels of caffeine and other stimulants, which have been linked to an increasing number of reports involving severe health risks from energy drinks.
In December 2014, Grim indicates that he was driving to work when he began to feel ill and had to pull over. His condition gradually worsened and he was eventually diagnosed with kidney failure from Monster Energy, according to the lawsuit.
The case is one of a growing number of lawsuits over Monster Energy and other popular energy drinks, such as Red Bull, Rockstar and others, which allege that manufacturers failed to warn about the risk of heart attacks, strokes, kidney problems and sudden death linked to the beverages.
The Monster Energy kidney failure lawsuit accuses the manufacturer of designing and distributing a defective and unreasonably dangerous product, withholding risk information from consumers and dodging FDA regulations for years, by classifying the drink as a dietary supplement.
As a result of the effort to escape FDA oversight for years, Monster Energy drinks were never adequately tested and did not provide proper warnings about the potential health risks for years, according to the lawsuit.
Following concerns about the health risks, and heavy criticism from consumer advocates, Monster agreed to market it as a beverage regulated by the FDA in 2013, however serious questions have been raised about the safety of the drink and the lack of sufficient warnings for consumers.
Energy drink manufacturers have compared the amount of caffeine in their products to that of hot beverages sold in coffee houses, but the products are often packaged in very large sizes and they are not sold in controlled environments like coffee shops, which typically would not serve young children.
Monster, Rockstar, Red Bull and other popular energy drinks are widely available in convenience stores, often located next to traditional soft drinks and packaged in very similar cans.
Although most individuals believe them to be safe, often consuming large numbers of the energy drinks in short periods of times, many contain pharmaceutical grade caffeine and additional caffeine from other natural sources. This much caffeine in one serving can cause a person’s heart to beat rapidly, increase blood pressure, or other nervous, digestive or cardiovascular system side effects, health experts warn.
Some energy drinks in many of the popular lines contain up to 400 mg of caffeine per can. In comparison, a cup of coffee typically has around 100 mg of caffeine.
Caffeine poisoning can occur in adults at levels higher than 400 mg a day; however children under 12 can experience caffeine poisoning at only 2.5 mg per 2.2 pounds of body weight.
The FDA is currently investigating health concerns surrounding the drinks, after a number of adverse event reports were submitted in recent years connecting energy drinks to severe injuries and deaths.
Amid aggressive marketing by the manufacturers, energy drink sales increased 240% between 2004 and 2009, and the number of caffeine overdose emergency room visits increased from 1,128 in 2005 to 16,055 in 2008. Approximately 56% of those visits involved individuals between the ages of 12 and 25 years.