According to a recent article by the New York Times, the Food and Drug Administration has launched an investigation after reports that the 5-Hour Energy product may be linked to some 13 deaths over the past several years.
The FDA confirmed that it has begun an investigation into the 13 deaths which all occurred within the last four years. The investigation is similar to the one involving Monster Energy Drink and the five deaths that were related to its use.
A report by the New York Times revealed that since 2009, 5-Hour Energy has been named in some 90 filings with the FDA including 30 that involved life-threatening incidents. These include incidents of heart attack, convulsions and, in one especially tragic case, a spontaneous abortion.
The company has responded by issuing a statement saying that the small shot of caffeine is safe when used as directed. The company, Living Essentials, says that no more than two of the 2-ounce shots should be consumed in a day and the two shots should not be consumed close together. Each tiny shot contains as much caffeine as a cup of coffee.
Consumer Reports recently studied the levels of caffeine in a wide array of energy drinks and found that the highest amount per serving was found in the 2-ounce, 5-Hour Energy Extra Strength which contained 242 milligrams of caffeine. This is many times more than the 35 milligrams of caffeine found in a 12-ounce can of Coke.
Though caffeine may not be a dangerous and regulated prescription medication, there's no doubt that that such high levels can cause serious harm. Seemingly safe ingredients in products we use and consume every day can cause great harm given the right set of circumstances. As an example of the harm they can cause, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration said that more than 13,000 emergency room visits in 2009 were linked to energy drinks.