5-Hour Energy drink may have led to 13 deaths and 33 hospitalizations

Posted
by Michael Heygood

Investigations are underway by The FDA and the New York Attorney General’s office following claims that the drink 5-Hour Energy may have led to 13 deaths and 33 hospitalizations over the past four years.

5-Hour Energy has been mentioned in some 90 reports filed with the FDA since 2009. The filings include reports of heart attacks, convulsions and, in one case, a spontaneous abortion. Another federal agency, 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.

The FDA requires soda manufacturers to list the amount of caffeine in their beverages if they exceed .02 percent. However, makers of 5-Hour Energy and similar products can circumvent the federal caffeine labeling requirement simply by marketing their products as “energy drinks” or “dietary supplements” rather than as sodas, soft drinks, or colas.

5-Hour Energy is marketed as a “supplement” and is therefore not by the FDA as a “food” or a “drug.” Because FDA regulations do not require “supplement” ingredients to be listed, the ingredients in such energy drinks are not fully identified. However, along with caffeine, it is known that 5-Hour Energy contains very high levels of certain B vitamins and a substance called taurine.

Although the drinks may be safe for healthy adults when consumed in moderation, critics of energy drinks are concerned about the dangers posed to those with underlying heart problems, especially children.

Last month, Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) started an effort to make the FDA close the loopholes that allow potentially dangerous drinks on to the market. Senators Durbin and Blumenthal believe these beverages are addictive due to the high amount of caffeine they reportedly contain. The senators issued a letter citing a Consumer Reports study which claims certain energy drinks contain much more caffeine than the packaging claims.

Heygood, Orr & Pearson

At Heygood, Orr & Pearson, we have the knowledge, experience and financial resources necessary to prosecute even the most complex personal injury or wrongful death case. Mr. Heygood, Mr. Orr, and Mr. Pearson are all Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Mr. Heygood and Mr. Orr are additionally Board Certified in Civil Trial Advocacy Law by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. We are extremely proud of the qualifications, knowledge, and experience of all of our attorneys and encourage you to learn more about them.

If you have been seriously injured, or a friend or loved one was injured or killed, as a result of a defective or unreasonably dangerous product, you have important legal rights. Contact our firm at 1-877-446-9001 and tell us what happened, or you may send us an email by completing our free online contact form.