Thursday, January 17, 2013

Study shows ER visits tied to energy drinks have doubled since 2007

From AP and the MS blog:

From 2007 to 2011, the government estimates the number of emergency room visits involving the neon-labeled beverages shot up from about 10,000 to more than 20,000. Most of the cases involved teens or young adults, according to the survey of the nation's hospitals released late last week by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
More than half of the patients considered in the survey told doctors they had consumed only energy drinks. In 2011, about 42 percent of the cases involved energy drinks in combination with alcohol or drugs, such as the stimulants Adderall or Ritalin.

The beverage industry says energy drinks are safe and there is no proof linking the products to adverse reactions.

Here is a partial from the DAWN network:

Energy drinks are flavored beverages containing high amounts of caffeine and typically other additives, such as vitamins, taurine, herbal supplements, creatine, sugars, and guarana, a plant product containing concentrated caffeine. These drinks are sold in cans and bottles and are readily available in grocery stores, vending machines, convenience stores, and bars and other venues where alcohol is sold. These beverages provide high doses of caffeine that act as a stimulant upon the central nervous system and cardiovascular system. The total amount of caffeine in a can or bottle of an energy drink varies from about 80 to more than 500 milligrams (mg) of caffeine, compared with about 100 mg in a 5-ounce cup of coffee or 50 mg in a 12-ounce cola.1 Research suggests that certain additives may compound the stimulant effects of caffeine. Some types of energy drinks may also contain alcohol, producing a hazardous combination; however, this report focuses only on the dangerous effects of energy drinks that do not have alcohol.

Although consumed by a range of age groups, energy drinks are marketed to appeal to youth and are consumed by 30 to 50 percent of children, adolescents, and young adults.2 Of the several hundred brands of energy drinks on the market, the most popular brands of energy drinks that account for the majority of the market share are Red Bull, Monster, Rockstar, Full Throttle, and Amp. Marketing for energy drinks often targets young people, suggesting benefits such as increased energy and stamina, weight loss, and enhanced physical and/or mental performance.2 Emphasizing thrill seeking with names such as "Cocaine" and "Venom," energy drink companies use innovative media to reach their audiences, such as advertisements in video games and at sports events, and solicit market research feedback from consumers via social media to help identify new packaging designs.3 The popularity of these drinks has increased markedly in recent years, with energy drink sales increasing 240 percent from 2004 to 2009.4