The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is cracking down on 5-Hour Energy drinks after a New York Times review of agency records showed the drink had been associated with 90 incident reports including 30 serious or life-threatening reactions and 13 deaths. The investigation falls on the heels of a separate FDA investigation into five deaths tied to Monster Energy Drinks.
In May, a study suggested that energy drinks can cause increased blood pressure, heart palpitations and arrhythmias, anxiety and insomnia. Researchers said the drinks’ high caffeine content was one of the biggest causes of adverse effects.
Energy drinks, including 5-Hour Energy, offer a jolt of caffeine for quick energy. 5-Hour Energy drinks do not list on the label how much caffeine is in the beverages, and the company’s website simply says the shots contain “about as much caffeine as a cup of premium coffee” and the extra-strength 5-Hour Energy beverage contains “about as much caffeine as 12-ounces of coffee.”
A 12-ounce cup of name-brand brewed coffee contains about 230 mg of caffeine. One 16-ounce can of Monster Energy Drink contains about 160 mg of caffeine. The Center for Science in the Public Interest estimated that a 5-Hour Energy drink contains about 215 mg of caffeine.
5-Hour Energy also contains sugar, as well as the amino acids taurine, L-tyrosine, and L-phenylalanine, which are considered to play a role in energy metabolism. Energy drinks are not considered a drug so they are not subject to clinical trials to determine if they are safe.