A popular pick-me-up with shocking side effects?: FDA launches investigation
Photo: Video by kgun9.com
CREATED Nov. 20, 2012
Reporter: Kevin Keen
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - You might swear by it, reaching for one every afternoon to get through the day. But now, reports of deaths and injuries possibly related to the popular pick-me-up called 5-Hour Energy are under investigation. Should you be worried?
The product comes in a two-ounce bottle, is sold at grocery stories and gas stations, and is marketed as an “energy shot” to jolt you through the next few hours.
The Food and Drug Administration has launched an investigation into reports of people who took the product and fell ill or died. The manufacturer, doctors, health departments and/or people have reported 13 deaths and 33 hospitalizations to the FDA.
The agency wrote in a statement 9 On Your Side: "FDA as a scientific public health agency must carefully investigate and evaluate all possible causes before deciding whether the product actually caused the medical problem."
That investigation will take time. But what do you need to know now about 5-Hour Energy and if you can take it?
The company's CEO told ABC News drinking too much of the product is the only way to hurt yourself.
"If you had ten cups of coffee in a hour, I think you'd end up in the hospital,” Manoj Bhargava told the network.
The bottle's label does read: "Do not exceed two bottles daily, consumed several hours apart."
That's warning from the manufacturer. 9 On Your Side also turned to a medical professional: Dr. Mazda Shirazi of the Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center.
Shirazi said the product is a concentrated blend of stimulants, including caffeine. It's that kind of mixture -- making up many energy drinks -- that makes them so different than a cup of coffee. He said people need to know those ingredients could be harmful, depending on the person.
“If you are an individual who takes other medications -- whether they're herbal remedies, supplements for weight loss, for weight gain, for exercise -- you need to talk to your health care provider,” Shirazi said.
Again, his advice: Talk to your doctor about the energy drinks you use, including 5-Hour Energy.
9 On Your Side reporter Kevin Keen asked Shirazi, “Do you think most people know to do that, who should be doing that?” “I think most people don't know that,” the toxicologist answered. “Most people, they see the advertisement and they really do not distinguish between these drinks and a regular soft drink like a Diet Coke.”
Dr. Shirazi said after its investigation, the FDA might issue a warning about 5-Hour Energy or recommend the company change its labeling, formula or concentration. The FDA did not know how long the investigation will take.