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 those cases involved teens or young adults, according to a survey of the nation's hospitals released late last week by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Dr. Allen Taylor, chief of the cardiology division at Georgetown University Hospital, explained what could happen to some people when they consume an energy drink.
“Blood pressure goes up. Heart rate goes up and then they’ll start to feel the effects,” Taylor said. “Heart racing, heart skipping, panic-attack symptoms. Irregular heart symptoms and worse.”
Taylor said that energy drinks also contained other substances that are “completely unregulated” and can add to the stimulant nature of the drink.
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 findings came as concerns over energy drinks have intensified following reports last fall of 18 deaths possibly tied to the drinks and so-called energy shots — including a 14-year-old Maryland girl whose family filed a lawsuit after she drank two large cans of Monster Energy drinks and died. Monster says its products were not responsible for the death.
Two senators are calling for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate safety concerns about energy drinks and their ingredients.
The FDA is looking at this new study.
“We will examine this information to determine whether it can be used to assess whether energy-drink products can be legitimately linked to the types of adverse events reported in the … data,” an FDA spokesman said.
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