Energy drinks are big business. They are the fastest-growing segment of the beverage industry, with U.S. sales of nearly $10 billion in 2012. The market has grown steadily since Red Bull was introduced in 1997, and there are indications that energy drink sales will continue to expand at twice the rate of coffee sales. Promoted as an alternative to morning coffee, a mixer with evening cocktails, and good for any time you need an energy boost, the secret behind their success may also be their biggest drawback – caffeine.
Federal law places no limits on the amount of caffeine in energy drinks and does not require companies to disclose the caffeine content on labels, which varies among the brands.An 8-oz. can of Red Bull might have 80 mg. of caffeine, while a 32-oz. can of Monster contains 320 mg. Every person reacts differently to this stimulant drug. Caffeine toxicity symptoms often appear at an intake of about 400 mg., while even just 50 mg. have the potential to cause tachycardia and agitation. The Substance Abuse and Mental health Administration published a report last year showing that the number of emergency department visits involving energy drinks among people age 12 years and older doubled from 10,068 visits in 2007 to 20,783 visits in 2011. According to adverse event reports collected by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) between 2004 and 2014, there have been 34 deaths linked to energy drinks – with half occurring since 2012. Of these, 22 deaths were linked to 5-Hour Energy, 11 deaths were linked to Monster and one to Rockstar. The FDA was also informed about 241 non-fatal events where consumers experienced high blood pressure, convulsions, heart attacks and other problems. While the FDA indicated in 2012 that it was investigating these instances, a report has yet to be released.
And now there is a study linking traumatic brain injury (TBI) and energy drinks in teens.The researchers examined a survey of 10,272 seventh to twelfth graders and discovered that teens who reported having a TBI in the past year were seven times more likely to report drinking at least five energy drinks in the last week, compared to teens who did not have a TBI. Teens who had experienced a TBI in the last 12 months were at least twice as likely to report drinking energy drinks that had been mixed with alcohol. The data did not allow the researchers to draw a casual relationship between energy drinks and TBIs, largely because the effects of energy drinks on a healthy brain are not well understood, nor are the effects of high levels of caffeine on a developing brain. Further study is necessary to determine whether energy drinks could be a root cause of TBIs. Other possible explanations may be that teens who enjoy energy drinks also tend to engage in high-risk behavior or to use them as a coping mechanism to deal with the after-effects of a TBI. If you believe that your loved one has suffered a TBI due to energy drink consumption, or you have any questions about this topic, you can find out more by discussing it with the Pikeville, KY-based Johnson Law Firm. Contact us by calling 606-437-4488 or by filling out our online form.