Five death reports have been reported to the FDA alleging a direct link to consuming Monster Energy drink. The number of emergency room visits as a result of drinking an energy drink has dramatically risen 10 fold in the last 4 years. The FDA is finally investigating the alleged link.

The FDA does not regulate the amount of caffeine in energy drinks, which can be marketed as dietary supplements. Very high amounts of caffeine can cause dangerous irregular heart rhythms and can even be fatal for those with undiagnosed heart conditions. Perhaps a warning label would help.

Teenager Anais Fournier was at home watching a movie when she went into cardiac arrest last December. Unconscious, Anais was rushed to the hospital. In an effort to save her life, doctors put Anais in an induced coma to reduce the brain swelling. Six days later she was removed from life support. The cause of death was caffeine toxicity according her doctors, the autopsy and death certificate.

Anais had consumed two 24-oz. Monster Energy drinks in a 24-hour period, the last drink just hours prior to her death. The two drinks combined are believed to have contained approximately 480 milligrams of known caffeine, the equivalent of almost 14 cans of Coca-Cola.

Energy drinks have become increasingly popular in the teen culture, and among young professionals, where the drinks are often mixed with alcohol to produce an energized buzz that allows the consumer to party longer. Alcohol-laced energy drinks were banned by the FDA in 2010 after reports of deaths and illnesses. Although the alcohol laced drinks were banned, several drink company makers continue to market their products to the younger crowd. Such corporate irresponsibility and recklessness is needlessly endangering young people who have no idea how dangerous the drink combinations really are. Does this sound familiar? Does Joe Camel ring any bells?

While the FDA banned energy drink companies from selling liquored-up versions of their drinks, most high octane drink companies appear to condone the mixology. On its website, Red Bull boasts that “there is no scientifically substantiated reason why Red Bull Energy Drink should not, like any other drink, be mixed with alcohol.”

A research scientist, however, at the University of Maryland, who has written several energy drink studies, says there are several studies that are peer reviewed that show energy drinks “mask the effects of alcohol”, and as a result people drink more than otherwise because they are highly stimulated and impaired at the same time. It is not a good or safe combination. Come one FDA. Stop dragging your feet!

At Davis Law Group, product liability attorney Brian Davis handles cases involving serious injury and/or death caused by unsafe consumer products. This includes all kinds of products, from motorcycles and cars to fire alarms, artificial joints and energy drinks. To read other posts about dangerous and defective products, click here.