12 INVESTIGATES: The dangers of energy drink abuse - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

12 INVESTIGATES: The dangers of energy drink abuse

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has launched an investigation this month into the safety - and reported deaths - from energy drinks. They're looking into whether these drinks are linked to 18 deaths and more than a hundred injuries.

Student, Nakai Johnson is very familiar with monster energy drinks, "I have three 8 o'clock classes, so every Monday, Wednesday, Friday. I'm drinking like two a day." She's never had a bad side effect, but there are plenty of people who say they have.

One teen's parents even filed a lawsuit. Anais Fournier died after reportedly drinking two Monsters within a 24-hour span. Her lawyer says the boost of caffeine turned an unknown heart condition deadly.

"You've got drug interactions. You've got genetic predispositions or underlying conditions. And all of that can add up," said Janet Starkey, registered Dietician at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Starkey says death by caffeine overdose can happen, but it's rare.

"It does not surprise me. Some of the negative side effects of excess caffeine would warrant a visit to the emergency room," added Starkey.

According to a government survey of the nation's hospitals, in the last five years, emergency room visits involving energy drinks have doubled from 10,000 to more than 20,000. The cases often involve teens or young adults, mostly male.

Click here to read the government report

"The problem is often these things are not done in moderation," said Dr. Ruddy Rose, who runs VCU's Poison Control Center. "They're done in excess, and that's when you can start to see harm."

Rose says they've been getting around 30 calls a year for energy drink illnesses and that VCU's Emergency Room sees patients. "They've got a tremor, they feel agitated, their heart's beating too fast. They have nausea, they have vomiting," said Rose.

More than half the patients in that study told doctors they had only consumed the energy drink. The other half? 42% had combined it with alcohol or over the counter drugs - like Adderall and Ritalin.

Rose: "You feel awake enough to say that, 'Hey I'm awake. I can go get in the car or I can go do something.'"

DePompa: "It give people a false sense of how drunk they are?"

Rose: "That's a great way to put it."

Neither doctor we spoke with recommends the drinks, but they say if you must, moderation is key.

"Trying to find energy in a drink or a magic bullet is not the place to look for it," said Starkey.

Energy drink companies like Monster have issued statements, saying they are confident in the safety of their products and their ingredients. They cite a long track record and scientific evidence supporting their drinks.

No word on when the FDA will wrap up its investigation or if the agency will make any recommendations for changes.

Copyright 2013 WWBT NBC12.  All rights reserved.

  • Latest news from NBC12.comNEWSMore>>

  • 4 dead, 4 injured in Waffle House shooting

    4 dead, 4 injured in Waffle House shooting

    Sunday, April 22 2018 5:55 AM EDT2018-04-22 09:55:32 GMT
    Sunday, April 22 2018 12:25 PM EDT2018-04-22 16:25:04 GMT
    Travis Reinking (Courtesy: Metro Police)Travis Reinking (Courtesy: Metro Police)

    Four people were killed and four others were injured in a shooting at a Waffle House in Antioch. A white man wearing nothing a green jacket went into the restaurant and started firing a gun resembling an AR-15. Police are still searching for him. 

    More >>

    Four people were killed and four others were injured in a shooting at a Waffle House in Antioch. A white man wearing nothing a green jacket went into the restaurant and started firing a gun resembling an AR-15. Police are still searching for him. 

    More >>
  • Earth Day 2018: Focusing on ending plastic pollution

    Earth Day 2018: Focusing on ending plastic pollution

    Sunday, April 22 2018 12:22 PM EDT2018-04-22 16:22:21 GMT
    It may take up to 500 years for plastic to decompose. (Source: NBC12)It may take up to 500 years for plastic to decompose. (Source: NBC12)
    It may take up to 500 years for plastic to decompose. (Source: NBC12)It may take up to 500 years for plastic to decompose. (Source: NBC12)

    Sunday, April 22, marks Earth Day, a day where more than 1 billion people from 192 find ways to protect the planet.

    More >>

    Sunday, April 22, marks Earth Day, a day where more than 1 billion people from 192 find ways to protect the planet.

    More >>
  • Syracuse fraternity permanently expelled over racist video

    Syracuse fraternity permanently expelled over racist video

    Saturday, April 21 2018 5:46 PM EDT2018-04-21 21:46:07 GMT
    Sunday, April 22 2018 12:18 PM EDT2018-04-22 16:18:59 GMT
    Syracuse University permanently expels fraternity for "extremely racist" video. (Source: WSYR/CNN)Syracuse University permanently expels fraternity for "extremely racist" video. (Source: WSYR/CNN)

    Syracuse University has permanently expelled a fraternity over an offensive video that fraternity members say was intended as satire.

    More >>

    Syracuse University has permanently expelled a fraternity over an offensive video that fraternity members say was intended as satire.

    More >>
  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • 4 dead, 4 injured in Waffle House shooting

    4 dead, 4 injured in Waffle House shooting

    Sunday, April 22 2018 5:55 AM EDT2018-04-22 09:55:32 GMT
    Sunday, April 22 2018 12:25 PM EDT2018-04-22 16:25:04 GMT
    Travis Reinking (Courtesy: Metro Police)Travis Reinking (Courtesy: Metro Police)

    Four people were killed and four others were injured in a shooting at a Waffle House in Antioch. A white man wearing nothing a green jacket went into the restaurant and started firing a gun resembling an AR-15. Police are still searching for him. 

    More >>

    Four people were killed and four others were injured in a shooting at a Waffle House in Antioch. A white man wearing nothing a green jacket went into the restaurant and started firing a gun resembling an AR-15. Police are still searching for him. 

    More >>
  • Woman loses home at auction to former attorney

    Woman loses home at auction to former attorney

    Saturday, April 21 2018 11:11 PM EDT2018-04-22 03:11:04 GMT
    Sunday, April 22 2018 5:23 AM EDT2018-04-22 09:23:15 GMT
    Sawyers watched her Florissant, MO, home go to auction Thursday. The highest bidder was her former attorney. (Source: KPLR/CNN)Sawyers watched her Florissant, MO, home go to auction Thursday. The highest bidder was her former attorney. (Source: KPLR/CNN)

    Sawyers watched her Florissant, MO, home go to auction Thursday. The highest bidder was her former attorney.

    More >>

    Sawyers watched her Florissant, MO, home go to auction Thursday. The highest bidder was her former attorney.

    More >>
  • 4 dead in Nashville Waffle House shooting; suspect sought

    4 dead in Nashville Waffle House shooting; suspect sought

    Sunday, April 22 2018 8:34 AM EDT2018-04-22 12:34:45 GMT
    Sunday, April 22 2018 12:19 PM EDT2018-04-22 16:19:25 GMT
    A customer at the restaurant took the gun from the suspect, who then took off his coat and fled the area. (Source: CNN)A customer at the restaurant took the gun from the suspect, who then took off his coat and fled the area. (Source: CNN)
    Police in Tennessee say three people were killed and four were injured in a shooting at a Waffle House restaurant early Sunday. (Source: CNN)Police in Tennessee say three people were killed and four were injured in a shooting at a Waffle House restaurant early Sunday. (Source: CNN)

    A customer at the restaurant took the gun from the suspect, who then took off his coat and fled the area. 

    More >>

    A customer at the restaurant took the gun from the suspect, who then took off his coat and fled the area. 

    More >>
Powered by Frankly