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FDA Posts Red Bull Energy Drink Injury Reports Online

FDA Posts Red Bull Energy Drink Injury Reports Online

November 19, 2012 — In the last few weeks, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has confirmed that energy drinks have been linked to more than 150 adverse events, including 18 fatalities. Between January 2004 and May 2012, Red Bull energy drinks have been linked to 21 reports, including 10 reports involving hospitalization, life-threatening injuries, a visit to the ER, or other serious injuries.

Click here to review the FDA report.

Most of the severe, life-threatening injuries were cardiovascular in nature, and included the following side effects:

  • Abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia)
  • Increased heartbeat
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Chest pain
  • Heart attack (myocardial infarction)
  • Blood clot in the heart (intracardiac thrombus)
  • And more

Red Bull was also associated with a wide variety of psychological and physical side effects. The psychological side effects included anxiety, aggression, panic, confusion, impaired mental function, and disturbed mental state. Severe physical side effects involved blindness, pancreatitis, vomiting, convulsions, fatigue, and more.

The FDA cautions that the existence of a report does not necessarily prove that Red Bull caused the side effect. Furthermore, the reports do not include other information, such as whether the drink was consumed with alcohol, drugs, or whether the patient had an underlying medical condition (such as a heart defect).

Officials for Red Bull have stated that they are not aware of any injury reports that have been filed with the FDA. They also maintain that their products are safe.

The voluntary reports to the FDA probably underestimate the actual number of injuries that have occurred. In fact, a separate federal investigation identified more than 13,000 reports from emergency rooms that cited energy drinks as a potential factor in the patient’s injury. There has been a 10-fold increase in the number of reports submitted between 2005 and 2009.

Because energy drinks are regulated as dietary supplements, they are not subject to the same strict labeling requirements as foods and drugs. This is why many energy drinks do not list the amount of caffeine in their product on the label.

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