FDA Investigates Link Between Monster Energy Drink And 5 Deaths

Posted at: 10/23/2012 10:51 PM
By: Dietrich Nissen

(ABC 6 News) -- You may want to think twice before picking up your next Monster Energy drink. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is investigating after reports say the highly caffeinated drink may be linked to five deaths and at least one heart attack. 

When they're sold as a “killer energy brew”, promising a monstrous amount of energy, it's hard for some to believe the Monster Energy Drinks could be tied to five deaths.

"Absolutely surprised me," says Jake Anderson. "I personally drink quite a few of them so it was kind of scary to hear what's going on with them."

The FDA is looking into reports that link the highly caffeinated drinks to heart attacks and deaths, including that of a 14 year-old girl who drank two of the 24-ounce cans in a day.

The girls parents are suing claiming Monster Beverage Corporation did not warn of the high caffeine amount. To put it into perspective, a 24-ounce Monster is equal to seven 12-ounce cans of soda.

Doctors say it would take 31 to 62 cans of the 16-ounce Monster, drank one after another to reach lethal levels. Although the FDA limits the amount of caffeine in soft drinks, there's no limit for energy drinks.

"I heard they've caused a few deaths in country and just from over dosing on caffeine," says Anderson. "[I’m] pretty scared actually I didn't know that was possible."

Monster Beverage Corporation defended its products saying it doesn't believe they've caused any deaths. It also point out these drinks are not recommended for children or people sensitive to caffeine.

"We've seen most of the health risks associated with the consumption of energy drinks, and not necessarily coffee. And one of the reasons for that could be that coffee is consumed while it's hot and more slowly," says Dr. Amelia Arria with University of Maryland’s School of Public Health.

For some customers the drinks will stay on the shelf, but others continue to buy them until the FDA can figure out if what's inside is actually killing people.

The FDA has received these types of reports since 2004, but the agency says the reports don't necessarily prove the drinks caused the deaths or injuries.