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More Experts Speak Out against Energy Drinks

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Newark, NJMore experts are speaking out against energy drinks, especially when they are used by children and adolescents. Despite being asked at a senate hearing on energy drinks to not market the drinks to anyone under the age of 16, because of a reported risk of energy drink hospitalization or death, energy drink makers have only said that they would not market to those under the age of 12.

According to myCentralJersey (8/17/13), experts at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School are warning against energy drinks, noting that their poison-control centers are fielding more and more calls linked to young people who suffered heart problems after ingesting energy drinks. The experts noted that they have received calls in which the children developed heart palpitations, rapid heart rate or seizure.

Meanwhile, a study published in Clinical Toxicology (8/13) suggests that educational campaigns and legal restrictions on who energy drinks are sold to could decrease the incidence of serious adverse events linked to the drinks. Researchers set out to determine whether regulatory actions and education initiatives had an impact on the incidence and outcomes of toxic exposure to energy drinks. For the study, researchers analyzed reports of energy drink exposure to the US National Poison Data System (NPDS) for a one-year period.

They found that of 2.3 million calls to the NPDS, 4,854 involved energy drinks. Of those, 3,192 cases were excluded because the drink involved had unknown formulations. Of the 1,480 cases of non-alcoholic energy drink toxicity reports, more than 50 percent involved children under the age of six and more than 75 percent were unintentional. Moderate to major adverse events were reported in 15 percent of non-alcoholic drink reports and almost 40 percent for alcoholic energy drinks. Researchers classified seizure, non-ventricular dysrhythmia, ventricular dysrhythmia, and tachypenea as major adverse events.

“About half the cases of energy drink-related toxicity involved unintentional exposures by children AdWeek (7/31/13) reports that energy drink makers called before a senate commerce hearing refused to agree to limit consumption of their drinks to people over the age of 16. Although the companies agreed not to market to children younger than 12, they would not agree to limits on sales to consumers younger than 16.

The American Medical Association, however, has said it would support banning marketing the drinks to children under 18, due to concerns about heart problems and other serious health issues.

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