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Brandon Peters, M.D.

Monster Energy Drink May Be Tied to 5 Deaths

By October 22, 2012

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According to a recent incident report released by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Monday, five deaths and a heart attack occurring since 2009 may be tied to consuming Monster Energy Drink, a highly caffeinated beverage.

Caffeine is a natural stimulant that can improve excessive daytime sleepiness. In recent years, with surging levels of sleepiness in cultures around the world, sales of energy drinks have similarly increased. Safety questions surrounding these products have also been raised.

In December 2011, a 14-year-old girl named Anais Fournier died after drinking two 24-ounce cans of Monster Energy Drink. Her parents have filed a lawsuit, seeking damages and suggesting that caffeine in the product contributed to her untimely death. She suffered from Ehler-Danlos syndrome and went into cardiac arrest, her autopsy linking it to caffeine toxicity. Each can of Monster Energy Drink contains 240 milligrams of caffeine. This is the equivalent of about 2 cups of coffee.

Monster, based in California, intends to defend itself against the lawsuit and says it is unaware of any fatalities caused by its drinks. This may be a cautionary tale, however. High levels of caffeine, for instance, may have untoward side effects. Many food, herbal, and supplemental products contain levels of compounds that are not carefully regulated by the FDA. This may lead to safety concerns and, potentially, serious consequences.

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