It’s been called “that 2:30 feeling”: as the workday drags on, with droopy eyelids and audible yawns, many reach for a little red bottle of 5-Hour Energy, familiar from the front counters of convenience stores and ubiquitous late-night TV ads. But beware: the energy drink, and others like it, may result in death, heart attacks or “spontaneous abortions,” according to according to filings with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Federal officials have received reports that detail 13 deaths allegedly linked to 5-Hour Energy within the past four years, the New York Times reports. Monster Energy has been flagged for possibly causing five fatalities in other FDA filings.
Since 2009, the energy shot that claims to reduce fatigue has been mentioned in over 90 claims with the FDA, including 30 that involved serious or life-threatening injuries. The New York Times cautions that incident reports filed with the F.D.A do not necessarily mean that a product “was responsible for a death or an injury or contributed to it in any way;” such reports, the paper states, are often “fragmentary in nature and difficult to investigate.”
Still, top executives at Living Essentials, the Michigan-based distributor of 5-Hour energy, declined to speak to the Times and instead issued a statement that said the product was safe for consumption if it was used as directed. Additionally, the company said they were “unaware of any deaths proven to be caused by the consumption of 5-Hour energy.”
5-Hour energy is sold in a two-ounce bottle and does not disclose the amount of caffeine per serving; however, Consumer Reports placed the level at around 215 milligrams. An eight-ounce cup of coffee generally contains between 100 to 150 milligrams, according to the Times.
Additionally, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration within the federal government reported that more than 13,000 emergency room visits were related to energy drinks in 2009.