5-Hour Energy Shots: Why Are People Dying?

    In a statement, Living Essentials says it takes these injury reports “very seriously.” The company says 5-Hour Energy is safe when used as directed by “hardworking adults who need an extra boost of energy.”

    The 5-Hour Energy label and the product’s web site spell out proper use:

    • Drink no more than two bottles of 5-Hour Energy a day, spaced several hours apart.
    • People trying 5-Hour Energy for the first time should try half a bottle and wait 10 minutes before drinking the rest.
    • People sensitive to caffeine should talk to their doctor before using it.
    • Throw out any unused product within 72 hours of opening the bottle.

    The FDA offers additional advice. In its statement, the agency warns that:

    • 5-Hour Energy and other energy shots or beverages are not alternatives to rest or sleep.
    • Caffeine and other stimulants may make an unrested person feel more alert and awake, but judgment and reaction time still may be “severely impaired.”
    • Consult a health care provider before using these products to make sure you do not have a medical condition that might get worse if you take them.

    Energy drinks: What to know about the caffeine they contain 

    Caffeine is the main active ingredient in 5-Hour Energy. Living Essentials says it contains “about as much caffeine as a cup of the leading premium coffee.”

    A recent test by Consumer Reports found that 5-Hour Energy contains 215 milligrams of caffeine per serving.

    An 8-ounce cup of coffee has about 100 milligrams of caffeine, although that varies according to how the coffee is brewed. For example, Consumer Reports finds that 8 ounces of Starbucks coffee has 165 milligrams of caffeine.

    According to Consumer Reports, safe limits of caffeine are up to 400 milligrams per day for healthy adults, 200 milligrams a day for pregnant women, and up to 45 or 85 milligrams per day for children, depending on weight.

    High doses of caffeine can result in restlessness, nervousness, insomnia, and tremors. High doses can also trigger seizures and unstable heart rhythm.

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