FDA investigating Monster energy drink death reports, lawsuit filed in California

The popular “energy drink” known as Monster has been blamed for at least four deaths and a heart attack since 2004 and officials with the Food and Drug Administration have launched an investigation to determine the claims’ validity and possible health side effects to consuming energy drinks.

According to an Associated Press report this week, the FDA has received reports since 2004 in which adverse reactions are being blamed on the highly-caffeinated Monster energy drink. Four people died after drinking one of these beverages, which contains seven times the amount of caffeine as a regular soda of the same size. In addition to the death reports, the agency also has record of at least one non-fatal heart attack and previous press reports have detailed numerous other incidents in which Monster and other energy drinks have been blamed for adverse health reactions.

AP notes that the FDA’s launching an investigation follows a lawsuit filed against the makers of Monster energy drink, Monster Beverage Corp., in which the parents of a deceased 14-year-old girl blame her drinking two cans of the energy drink in one day resulted in her death. In their wrongful death lawsuit filed in a California court last week, the parents believe Monster failed to warn of possible health side effects to drinking the potent beverages, sold in oversized tall 24-ounce cans. Drinking two cans of Monster caused the girl to suffer a cardiac arrhythmia, according to the lawsuit cited by AP, due to caffeine toxicity. 

The fact that their daughter had a condition that already weakened her blood vessels likely played a part in her death after drinking the beverages but that speaks to Monster’s failure to warn of its health dangers, the lawsuit states.

Monster Beverage Corp. told AP reporters that it is unaware of any death blamed on their drinks but that is unlikely. For several years prior to the launch of this FDA investigation, the makers of energy drinks across the proverbial board have been facing allegations that their products are dangerous to a person’s health.

Last month, the FDA was directed by leading Senators on Capitol Hill to launch this investigation.

Energy drinks have only been on the market for about a decade and have quickly become a fixture next to regular soft drinks sold at convenience stores and other retail locations. Though many cans do contain warnings about their potential hazards to children and people with caffeine sensitivities, they are heavily marketed almost exclusively to a younger audience. Monster is a leading brand among many dominating the beverage market, generating billions of dollars in sales annually.

These drinks contain very high amounts of caffeine, equal to multiple normal sodas but they’re not subject to the same regulations as those beverages. They escape these regulations often by claiming to have all-natural ingredients, claims that are subject to widespread speculation. In fact, most of the marketing energy dedicated to these drinks touts their health benefits rather than the risks.

The FDA told AP that although it is investigating a possible link between the four death reports it has received and Monster Energy drink, the reports do not prove that the beverages caused the deaths or other health complications.


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