The makers of Monster Energy drinks are facing a wrongful death lawsuit. It was filed on behalf of the parents of a 14-year-old Maryland girl who died after drinking two, 24-ounce Monster drinks.
Those 24-ounce drinks each have 240 milligrams of caffeine, or about seven times the amount in a 12-ounce can of soda.
An autopsy showed she died of cardiac arrhythmia from caffeine toxicity. The parents' attorney said she had an underlying mild heart condition, not unlike about 10 percent of the population.
The Federal Drug Administration is investigating this death along with four others and a non-deadly heart attack, all possibly linked to Monster energy drinks.
"Caffeine is a stimulant. It's a drug. It may not be an illegal drug, but it's still a drug," Dr. Daliah Wachs said.
Wachs said the stimulant increases heart rate and can be mildly habit forming. People with irregular heartbeats or high blood pressure are extra sensitive.
Wachs has treated patients dealing with these effects.
"They had an abnormal heart rhythm with drinks other than Monster- we sent them to the ER. They now have to be followed by a cardiac specialist."
Wachs said there haven't been any studies yet on kids and energy drinks. And there is no recommended daily allowance for adults when it comes to caffeine, but about 300 milligrams a day is considered acceptable. The 24-ounce can of Monster has 240 milligrams.
Parents are urged to pay attention to what their children are drinking. If they start the day with coffee, have an energy drink, or a few sodas they could be consuming too much. Even coffee-flavored ice creams and chocolate can have caffeine in them.
Monster said it does not believe its products are related to the deaths.
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