Can an energy drink kill you? The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is investigating Monster energy drinks following reports that five people have died after consuming the drinks. One 16-ounce can of the drink has 160 milligrams of caffeine—equivalent to almost five cans of a soft drink and well above the FDA limit of 71 milligrams of caffeine per 12-ounce soda. Energy drinks are able to exceed the usual caffeine limit because they are marketed as dietary supplements, although it is not clear that the drink’s common additives (like guarana, taurine and ginseng) are safe when combined with the drink’s other ingredients.
Energy drink-related emergency room visits have jumped from about 1,000 in 2005 to over 13,000 in 2009. Last week, a Maryland couple filed a lawsuit against Monster energy drinks, alleging that the company is responsible after their daughter went into cardiac arrest and died after consuming two 24-ounce Monster energy drinks within 24 hours. According to the autopsy report, her cause of death was “cardiac arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity.”