It’s another case of, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” It has been confirmed by the FDA that they have received reports that 5-hour Energy may have been involved in thirteen deaths over the past four years.
Just last month the U.S. Food and Drug Administration shared that Monster Beverage drinks were under investigation for five deaths.
Living Essentials, the 5-hour Energy distributing company claims in a statement that the product “is not an energy drink.” That’s an interesting statement isn’t it? 5-hour Energy isn’t an energy drink? Above and beyond the fact that energy is a significant part of the product’s name, a burst of energy seems to be the product’s big selling point in their advertising campaign but yet they are stating that it is not an energy drink?
Elaine Lutz, spokeswoman for Living Essentials states that the company “takes reports of any potential adverse event tied to our product very seriously. We fully comply with all of our reporting requirements.” The statement went on to say that the company was “unaware of any death proven to have been caused by the consumption of 5-hour Energy.”
FDA spokeswoman Shelly Burgess states that Living Essential LLC’s 5-hour Energy was cited in 92 FDA reports, including 33 hospitalizations and 13 deaths from January 2004 to October 2012. Of these filings, more than thirty have involved serious or life-threatening events like heart attacks, convulsions, and even a spontaneous abortion according to the New York Times.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported late last year that more than 13,000 emergency room visits in 2009 were associated with energy drinks alone.
Beverage Digest reports that highly caffeinated beverages are the fastest-growing type of soft drink in America with sales increasing seventeen percent last year to about $9 billion. But, are they truly soft drinks?
Newsday reports that Monster and competitors such as Red Bull aren’t bound by the FDA guidelines for caffeine in sodas, because energy drinks are often sold as dietary supplements.
There are politicians currently on a crusade to impose caffeine limits on the beverages. After the recent FDA reports, Senator Dick Durbin from Illinois and Senator Richard Blumenthal from Connecticut sent a letter Thursday to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg asking for a meeting to discuss the safety of energy drinks.
“Over the past year, there has been alarming evidence that energy drinks pose a potential threat to the public’s health,” the senators wrote. “It is necessary for the FDA to take immediate action to address a serious public health issue.”
So, if you’re looking for a little pick-me-up, you may want to stick to something tried and true and stay clear of any energy drinks until the dust settles. Better yet, perhaps we should all err on the side of caution and squeeze some extra z’s into our daily routine.