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Overdosing on caffeine is a problem

Industry News

One day after a 14-year-old girl drank two 24-ounce energy drinks she went into cardiac arrest and died six days later.

She did have a common heart condition called mitral valve prolapsed, which typically doesn't cause any problems. Even with this condition the official cause of death documented was cardiac arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity.

Perhaps if she did not have a heart condition, this wouldn't have affected her. This story serves as a good reminder about how much caffeine you, your children, friends, patients and clients are drinking every day.

Two 24-ounce cans of the Monster energy drink (the brand she drank) is 480 milligrams of caffeine, this was compared to drinking about 14 cans of coke. That is nearly five times the limit recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

One argument to this story was that, maybe kids/teens shouldn't be drinking energy drinks at all, yet the design and name of the drinks is made to be appealing to teens.

It is difficult to determine how much caffeine is actually in the drink, since the label does not require disclosure of the amount of caffeine. The FDA regulates the amount in soda, but energy drinks are considered a dietary supplement and have no regulation. Even if it was on the label, chances are it wouldn't get read. Enforcing an age limit to buy these drinks could be something to consider, or at least make the design less flashy and appealing.

The fact that was really shocking was the increase in caffeine overdoses that emergency rooms across the country have been seeing. Numbers are up from 1,128 in 2005 to 16,055 in 2008 and 13,114 in 2009.

This is an issue in the U.S.; I would like to hear if any other countries around the world are experiencing this problem?

Read the full story here.

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