Product News and Recalls

Editorial: FDA justified in energy drink concerns

An editorial in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette praises the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for investigating highly caffeinated energy drinks, in light of agency documents suggesting they may be linked to a number of health problems and deaths.

The editorial specifically mentions 5-Hour Energy Shots. FDA reports link the product with 92 adverse events, including 33 hospitalizations and 13 deaths. Other FDA reports have linked Monster Energy with five deaths and one heart attack since 2004. And Rockstar Inc.’s energy drinks, while not cited in any deaths, have been linked to 13 adverse event reports dating to 2006.

Among the reported side effects are increased heart rate, abdominal pain and nausea, anxiety and dizziness – resulting in stroke in some cases.

According to the Post Gazette, a consumer watchdog has put the level of caffeine in a 2-ounce bottle of 5-Hour Energy at 215 milligrams. By comparison, an eight-ounce cup of coffee contains up to 150 milligrams.

But the editorial points out that 5-Hour Energy Shots come in a variety of flavors, making it easy for consumers to drink more than one at a time.

“Even if a person drinks only two, that’s an unusually large amount of caffeine hitting the nervous system at once,” the editorial says.

Industry resistance has held up a bill introduced in Congress last year to regulate the product. And manufacturer Living Essentials claims the product is safe when used properly and no federal oversight or warning labels are warranted.

The editorial says the FDA should not wait for “industry permission” before evaluating the drinks’ safety.

See the editorial here: