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Study Suggests Energy Drinks Dangerous for Adolescents

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Philadelphia, PAWith an energy drink lawsuit about to get underway, a new study has been released suggesting energy drinks may be dangerous for adolescents. Energy drink lawsuits have been filed against the makers of the highly caffeinated drinks - including Monster Energy - alleging the drinks are unreasonably dangerous for consumers.

The study was published online in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology (3/26/15), and analyzed data on the use of energy drinks in adolescents (aged 10-19 years) and young adults. The research team found energy drinks can trigger sudden cardiac deaths in young individuals, even those who appear healthy. Furthermore, energy drinks can trigger sudden arrhythmic death syndrome or other arrhythmias in young people who have underlying heart disease.

“Although most cases of sudden cardiac death (~80%) are attributed to underlying coronary artery disease, a non-negligible 5%-10% of all cases occur in young apparently healthy individuals,” researchers wrote. Among issues reportedly linked to high ingestion of energy drinks are atrial or ventricular arrhythmias, QT prolongation, myocardial infarction, and atrial fibrillation.

According to researchers, approximately 30 percent of adolescents aged 12 to 19 regularly consume energy drinks. Researchers note that in 2007 almost half of the 5,448 caffeine overdoses were estimated to involve adolescents under the age of 19. Included in the study was a description of a 13-year-old boy who ingested energy drinks during a soccer practice and suffered atrial fibrillation.

In some cases, consumers may not realize how much caffeine they are ingesting, especially in cases where “masked” caffeine is included in the drink. For example, some sources of caffeine are identical to coffee caffeine but more highly concentrated. Combine that with the use of ingredients in drinks that may interact with caffeine, and consumers could be put at considerable risk.

The study’s authors found that one can of energy drink per day is safe for most healthy adolescents, but consumers should be careful not to ingest too much of the energy drinks, and adolescents should not take them before or during sports. Young consumers who have underlying heart problems should not drink the energy drinks without talking to a cardiologist. Finally, researchers warn against excessive energy drink consumption combined with the use of alcohol or other drugs.

A wrongful death lawsuit filed against Monster Energy is scheduled to be heard in court this month. The lawsuit was filed by the mother of Alex Morris, who was 19 years old when he went into cardiac arrest. Morris had consumed two to three cans of energy drinks a day for approximately three years. Morris’ mother alleges Monster Energy failed to warn about the risks of heart problems associated with energy drinks.

The lawsuit is Paula Morris v. Monster Beverage Corp., Case No RG13685028 in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Alameda.

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