Recent studies have found serious potential health risks associated with energy drinks, especially among children, adolescents and young adults. Overconsumption of the beverages has been linked to serious side effects including kidney failure, heart attacks, strokes and even death.
Free Confidential Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one has been injured by an energy drink, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit against the manufacturer and our lawyers can help.
Update: Energy Drink Side Effects Responsible for Death of 25-Year-Old, Suit Claims
December 18, 2017 – Anton Omelin drank Red Bull, NOS and Monster Energy before he collapsed and died on Oct. 30, 2014, according to a new lawsuit filed in Tacoma, Washington. The suit alleges that the defendants — Red Bull, Monster, and the Hansen Beverage Co. — failed to adequately warn consumers against the risk of alcohol use with energy drinks or during vigorous exercise.
“For most children and youth, sports drinks are unnecessary,” said Dr. Catherine Pound, co-author of the statement and a pediatrician at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. “Energy drinks are unnecessary at best and dangerous at worst.”
What’s the Problem?
The Pediatrics study, which was originally published in February 2011, found that energy drinks have little to no tangible therapeutic benefit, and that many of their ingredients are unregulated and understudied.
“The known and unknown pharmacology of agents included in such drinks, combined with reports of toxicity, raises concern for potentially serious adverse effects in association with energy-drink use. In the short-term, pediatricians need to be aware of the possible effects of energy drinks in vulnerable populations and screen for consumption to educate families.”
The researchers recommended that additional studies be conducted focusing on identifying the potential long-term side effects of energy drinks, and that the sale and regulation of such products should be based upon comprehensive analysis.
The History of Energy Drinks
Although energy drinks marketed as alternatives to coffee have been around since the late eighties, it wasn’t until Red Bull hit the U.S. market in 1997 that the phenomenon really started to take off. After Red Bull became wildly successful with young people around the country, a number of beverage companies such as Pepsi and Coca Cola attempted to capitalize on the trend with beverages of their own. Popular energy drinks include:
- 5-Hour Energy
- Monster Energy
- AMP Energy
- NOS Energy
- Redline Energy
- Hansen’s Energy
- Adrenaline Rush
- Extreme Energy
The U.S. energy drink industry currently exceeds $10 billion a year, and the growth of the worldwide market is estimated to be nearly 20%. Beverage manufacturers are directing their attention to results-oriented marketing strategies and a greater push into emerging markets.
Energy Drink Side Effects
According to information gathered from the Pediatrics study, energy drinks are consumed by an estimated 30 to 50% of adolescents and young adults. Often containing extremely high and unregulated levels of caffeine, these beverages have been reportedly connected to serious side effects including:
- allergic reactions including rash, hives, itching, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, swelling of the (mouth, face, lips, or tongue), diarrhea, shakiness, trouble sleeping, vomiting
- severe fatigue from withdrawal
- breast shrinkage in females
The risk for these types of side effects is greatly increased in children, adolescents, and young adults with the following health issues:
- cardiac abnormalities
- mood and behavioral disorders
- users of certain prescription medications
According to the Pediatrics study, of the 5,448 caffeine overdoses reported in the U.S. in 2007, nearly half occurred in children under the age of 19. Considering the high number of adverse events associated with energy drinks, several states have considered restricting or even banning sales of the products outright.
How Dangerous Are Energy Drinks?
The new study comes at a time when the energy drink industry has been increasingly criticized by many in the healthcare community. In a January 2012 editorial published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Amelia Arria from the University of Maryland School of Public Health and Mary Claire O’Brien from Wake Forest University School of Medicine claimed that energy drinks are“just as great a threat to individual and public health and safety” as the premixed alcoholic energy drinks recently deemed unsafe by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA).
“Although more research is necessary, so are proactive steps to protect public health,” said Arria and O’Brien. “To promote informed consumer choices, regulatory agencies should require specific labeling regarding caffeine content, with warnings about the risks associated with caffeine consumption in adolescents and in pregnant women as well as with explicit information about the potential risks associated with mixing energy drinks with alcohol.”
Energy Drinks Could Poison Children: Study
A recent study conducted by the pediatric chair for Wayne State University and DMC Children’s Hospital of Michigan suggests that energy drinks have the potential to be dangerous and even deadly, citing nearly 5,000 incident reports to emergency rooms associated with the beverages.
Among the study’s findings:
- More than 40% of reports to the National Poison Data System for “energy drink exposure” in a 3-year span involved children younger than 6.
- Reported side effects associated with energy drinks included abnormal heart rhythms and seizures.
- Researchers call for better labeling of energy drinks’ high caffeine content and resulting health consequences.
“This disproportionate representation of children is concerning given the number of reports of serious cardiac and neurological symptoms,” said Steven Lipshultz, M.D., senior author of the study. “Energy drinks have no place in pediatric diets, and anyone with underlying cardiac, neurologic or other significant medical conditions should check with their health care provider to make sure it’s safe to consume energy drinks.”
Click here to learn more.
Monster Energy Drink Lawsuits
In the early morning hours of June 25, 2012, Shane Felts died after consuming Monster energy drinks. “About 2:00 or 2:30 [am], I heard a thump, he was on the floor in the bathroom,” said Felts’ wife Heather. She and her 2 sons rushed him to the hospital.
“It’s just like the movies; a doctor kneels down in the front of you and says ‘I’m sorry, we did everything we could but he’s gone,’” she said.
Felts filed a lawsuit in August 2014 alleging that Monster energy drinks contributed to the wrongful death of her husband. The case is: Felts v. Monster Beverage Corporation et al, Case No. 4:2014cv00758, filed August 22, 2014 at Missouri Western District Court.
Meanwhile, another Monster Energy Drink Lawsuit is set to go to trial in early May 2015. Alex Morris, 19, died from a cardiac arrest in July 2012 after consuming Monster products. According to the complaint, Alex consumed at least two 16 oz. cans of Monster Energy Drink in the 24 hours before his death, and at least two 16 oz cans per day during the three years preceding his death.
The coroner listed the cause of death as cardiac arrhythmia and cardiomyopathy, with autopsy reports confirming there were no illegal drugs or alcohol in Morris’ system when he died.
The lawsuit alleges Monster “failed to warn consumers of the true risks, scope and severity of potential side effects of the Monster drinks that Alex Morris consumed such as increased risk of stroke, blood clots, heart attack and cardiac arrhythmia.”
This is the second Monster Drink Lawsuit to go to trial. Monster Beverage Corp. settled a previous case during trial. In all cases, the defendant has denied any wrongdoing.
Teens Should Avoid Energy Drinks due to Health Risks, Canadian Health Officials Warn
September 26, 2017 – Most children and teenagers should not consume sports and energy drinks, as the health risks associated with the beverages are too great to ignore, the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) warned Tuesday.
Energy Drinks Worse for your Heart than Caffeine Alone, Study Finds
April 27, 2017 – A new study published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Heart Association (AHA) has linked the side effects of energy drinks to an increased risk for heart problems beyond those seen with caffeine alone. The researchers suspect that the “proprietary blend” of ingredients in commercial energy drinks may prolong caffeine’s activity in the body, prevent it from being excreted, or that these substances “may have activity of their own above and beyond caffeine.”
Study Finds Energy Drinks, Alcohol a Dangerous Combo
March 23, 2017 – A study published in this month’s Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs found that the risk of injury could be 20 times greater when people drink alcohol mixed with energy drinks. Increased risk of injury was due to intentional behavior, such as violence or attempted suicide, as well as accidental acts such as tripping or car crashes, according to the researchers.
Mother Wants Stricter Regulations Over Sale of Energy Drinks After Son’s Death
February 27, 2017 – A Florida mom who claims her 19-year-old son died after drinking just a half can of Monster Extra Strength is calling for tighter regulations over the sale and use of energy drinks by kids. Cheryl James is campaigning for the drinks to carry a warning for people who have heart problems, and also for there to be an age limit on purchasing the beverages, making it illegal for anyone under 21 to buy.
Monster Energy Drink Killed My Son, Dad Says
January 17, 2017 – A 19-year-old man allegedly died from a heart attack after consuming more than 3 cans of Monster Energy Drink in a 24-hour period, according to a lawsuit filed by his father. Dustin Hood collapsed face first on a basketball court after drinking the last can; his father claims Monster Energy killed the teenager due to “caffeine overload.”
Army Issues Warning on Energy Drink Side Effects
January 5, 2017 – The U.S. military is warning troops not to consume too many energy drinks, saying it could do “some serious harm to your body.” A post on the pentagon’s official science blog last week details the health risks of energy drinks, citing a study which found that soldiers were more likely to fall asleep on duty if they consumed multiple beverages a day.
Redline Energy Linked to Stroke in Alabama Man
November 29, 2016 – Doctors at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) have documented a case of stroke linked to Redline Energy Drink. The patient, a 57-year-old man with a history of high blood pressure, reported consuming an 8 oz. bottle of Redline about 15 minutes before suffering a brain bleed that caused tingling and shakiness in his arms and legs.
Man’s Energy Drink Habit Led to Hepatitis, Study Finds
November 4, 2016 – A man who binged on energy drinks for three weeks developed acute hepatitis due to excess vitamin B3 consumption, according to a recent study published in BMJ Case Reports. The patient, a previously healthy 50-year-old man, reported experiencing malaise and anorexia, which progressed to nausea and vomiting after drinking 4 to 5 energy drinks per day at his construction job. A subsequent liver biopsy confirmed a diagnosis of acute hepatitis.
Report Calls for Steps to Reduce Energy Drink Consumption Among Children
July 25, 2016 – A report from the UK’s Food Research Collaboration is calling for increased measures to prevent the overconsumption of energy drinks among children and young people. The report found that consumption of energy drinks among young people is increasing globally, and predicted that the 10-14 year old consumer group will grow by at least 11% from 2014-2019. It also said that 68% of adolescents (11-18 years old) consumed energy drinks, with 11% drinking at least 1 liter at a time. Among children 10-years-old and younger, 18% consume energy drinks and 12% drink at least 1 liter per session, according to the report.
Just One Energy Drink May Increase Heart Risks, Study Finds
November 8, 2015 – Consuming a single energy drink can cause short-term changes in healthy adults that could increase their risk of heart disease over time, according to a study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The researchers found significant increases in both systolic blood pressure and norepinephrine levels in test subjects who consumed energy drinks. Click here to learn more.
Do I Have an Energy Drink Lawsuit?
The Product Liability & Defective Drug Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Energy Drink Lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently investigating potential settlements in all 50 states.
Free Confidential Case Evaluation: Again, if you or a loved one has been injured by an energy drink, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a class action suit and our attorneys can help.