Monday, January 7, 2013

Recent reports linking deaths and illnesses to energy drinks

The FDA reported in November of last year that there had been 92 illnesses and 13 deaths linked to the consumption of 5-Hour Energy shots, 40 illnesses and five deaths linked to Monster Energy, and 13 illnesses and two lasting disabilities linked to Rockstar Energy.  This was based on something called AERs (Adverse-Event Reports) that are filed by patients, families, and doctors.  These reports dated back to 2004.  These reports came about one year after a goverment report that cited a sharp spike in the number of people who need emergency medical care after consuming energy drinks.  That report showed more than a tenfold increase in the number of emergency rooom visits tied to the use of these drinks between 2005 and 2009.

While the FDA has not made enough of a direct link through its own independent research and analysis to find that these energy drinks are so dangerous as to require that they be removed from the market, it does not take a rocket scientist to recognize some definite risks in the consumption of these products.  Given that they are sometimes consumed with alcohol, they may be consumed as "refreshment" when athletes have been participating in strenuous physical activity and ALREADY have elevated heart rate and blood pressure, and that the emergency room visit study showed that more than one quarter of those who visited the ER after using energy drinks were also taking another pharmaceutical (often a stimulant such as Ritalin) -- enough "red flags" have been raised to warrant significant consideration before consuming one of these drinks.  Among the eye-opening statistics from the ER visit study was that the age range of 12 to 17 accounted for 11% of the emergency room visits. 

Caveat emptor!! Parents - beware too!!

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