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5-Hour Energy Blamed for 13 Deaths

The energy drink "shot" is under investigation for containing dangerous doses of caffeine.

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By Valerie Tejeda

11/16/12

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The ubiquitous energy drink "shot" Five-Hour Energy has been linked to 13 deaths in the past four years, according to the Food and Drug Administration. The mini-bevarage, advertised as a replacement for coffee, is currently under investigation for containing dangerous amounts of caffeine, after being linked to 92 adverse event reports—including 32 hospitalizations, as well as 13 possible deaths. "If someone is to use multiple cans, now is when we start to see some of the side effects," says Dr. Sean Patrick Nord, USC Director of the Section of Toxicology. "You're getting astronomical amounts, 30 to 40 cups of coffee." Living Essentials—the company that manufactures 5-Hour Energy—claims one shot contains the same amount of caffeine as a 12-ounce cup of coffee, and recommends that individuals consume no more that two bottles per day. The company is “unaware of any deaths proven to have been caused by the consumption of 5-Hour Energy," it stated recently. "It is important to note that submitting a serious adverse event report to the FDA, according the agency itself, is not construed by FDA as an admission that the dietary supplement was involved, caused or contributed to the adverse event being reported.” Even in light of the alarming reports, many experts agree that it's nearly impossible for an adult to fatally overdose on caffeine. However, energy drinks are thought to pose a serious risk for children and teens—especially those with underlying heart conditions.

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