5-Hour Energy is a popular energy drink that has been used by millions of people in the United States. In November 2012, the FDA warned that 5-Hour Energy was linked to 13 fatalities and 90 incident reports. Many of these injuries were linked to excessive amounts of caffeine or amino acids, which could potentially cause heart problems, seizures, or death.
What You Can Do & How We Can Help
The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting energy drink induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know was diagnosed with a serious side effect, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Product Liability Litigation Group or call us toll-free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
UPDATE: 5-Hour Energy Lawsuits Centralized in Federal Litigation
June 7, 2013 — A federal Multi-District Litigation (MDL) has been established to centralize 9 separate 5-Hour Energy class action lawsuits into one federal court in California. All of the lawsuits allege that the products were falsely marketed under the slogan “hours of energy now — no crash later.” Click here to read more.
5-Hour Energy Overview
5-Hour Energy was first introduced on the U.S. market in 2004 by Living Essentials, LLC. Each 2-ounce “shot” contains approximately 215 milligrams of caffeine, according to independent research from Consumer Reports. 5-Hour Energy also contains large amounts of amino acids and B-vitamins, including taurine, L-tyrosine, and L-phenylalanine.
5-Hour Energy and Liver Damage
5-Hour Energy contains a blend of B-vitamins, many in doses higher than was is recommended for an adult. High doses of one ingredient, Niacin (Vitamin B3), are known to be toxic in the liver. There are reports of people developing non-viral hepatitis (liver inflammation) after consuming energy drinks.
Liver Risks of 5-Hour Energy
- Toxic hepatitis
- Acute non-viral hepatitis
- Liver inflammation
- Jaundice (yellowing of skin and eyes)
- Elevated liver enzymes
- Liver failure
FDA Reports Adverse Events
The FDA reported in November 2012 that 5-Hour Energy was associated with 90 incident reports, including 30 serious incidents that required hospitalization and 13 deaths. These reports do not prove cause-and-effect, but they do raise concern. Many experts have also raised concerns about the toxic effects of caffeine.
Caffeine, Exercise, and Dehydration
The aggressive marketing campaign that launched 5-Hour Energy featured athletic men and women running up mountains, biking, playing sports, climbing, and performing other high-endurance physical activities.
Some experts are concerned that combining large amounts of caffeine with exercise could be dangerous. One reason is that caffeine is a diuretic, which could contribute to dehydration. Another reason is that exercise naturally increases blood pressure and heart rate.
5-Hour Energy and Children
Numerous studies have found that energy drinks are most popular among young adults, but they are also consumed by children and teenagers. The journal Pediatrics published a study in February 2012, which raised concerns about the risks of energy drinks in children:
“Energy drinks have no therapeutic benefit, and many ingredients are understudied and not regulated. The known and unknown pharmacology of agents included in such drinks, combined with reports of toxicity, raises concern for potentially serious adverse effects.”
These adverse effects could be most harmful for children with underlying heart disorders, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), psychological disorders, or other underlying conditions.
Caffeine Not Listed on the Label
Independent studies have found about 215 milligrams of caffeine per 5-Hour Energy. However, the actual amount of caffeine is not listed on the ingredient label. This is because 5-Hour Energy is not regulated as a food or a drug, but as a dietary supplement, which is subject to far lower labeling standards.
Dietary supplements are normally sold without approval from the FDA and without warnings about adverse effects. Manufacturers do not need to conduct clinical studies or prove that the product is safe or effective before it can be sold in the U.S.
Side Effects of 5-Hour Energy
The full health effects of 5-Hour Energy are unknown because well-controlled clinical studies were not performed before the product was sold in the United States. However, there have been many reports of cardiovascular events linked to caffeine toxicity, and seizures linked to the amino acid phenylalanine.
Caffeine Overdose Risks
- Changes in mood
- Anxiety, irritability
- Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
- High blood pressure
- Heart problems
- Heart attack
- Cardiac arrest
Do I have an Energy Drink Lawsuit?
The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting energy drink injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know was injured, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Product Liability Litigation Group or call us toll-free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
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