Federal officials have received reports of 13 deaths over the last four years that cited the possible involvement of 5-Hour Energy, a highly caffeinated energy shot, according to Food and Drug Administration records and an interview with an agency official.
Barry Meier of the New York Times writes that since 2009, 5-Hour Energy has been mentioned in some 90 filings with the F.D.A., including more than 30 that involved serious or life-threatening injuries like heart attacks, convulsions and, in one case, a spontaneous abortion, a summary of F.D.A. records reviewed by The New York Times showed.
The filing of an incident report with the F.D.A. does not mean that a product was responsible for a death or an injury or contributed in any way to it. Such reports can be fragmentary in nature and difficult to investigate.
The distributor of 5-Hour Energy, Living Essentials of Farmington Hills, Mich., did not respond to written questions about the filings, and its top executive declined to be interviewed. Living Essentials is a unit of the product’s producer, Innovation Ventures.
However, in a statement, Living Essentials said the product was safe when used as directed and that it was “unaware of any deaths proven to be caused by the consumption of 5-Hour Energy.”
In September story, Deadline Detroit's Jeff Wattrick questioned the ingredients of 5-Hour Energy, and cited sources that said such drinks rely mainly on caffeine to provide their kicks.
The Times' story said:
"The company does not disclose the amount of caffeine in each bottle, but a recent article published by Consumer Reports placed that level at about 215 milligrams.
"An eight-ounce cup of coffee, depending on how it is made, can contain from 100 to 150 milligrams of caffeine."