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FDA Looking Into 13 Fatalities Possibly Linked To Popular 5-Hour Energy Drink

Nutritionist: Dietary Supplement's Small Size Makes It Very Easy To Abuse
5-Hour Energy logo

5-Hour Energy logo

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WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — There are now concerns about a popular dietary supplement.

According to the FDA, a 5-Hour Energy shot has been cited as a possible contributing factor in a series of deaths nationwide, CBS 2′s Lou Young reported.

The question is could the product be deadly if it’s used the wrong way?

You see the little bottles everywhere promising to deliver in less than 2 ounces, a caffeine kick-and-a-half. Needless to say, 5-Hour Energy is a popular product.

“My boyfriend uses it when he’s driving from Ohio to New York and he says that it gives him the energy,” White Plains resident Tamara Bonilla told Young on Thursday.

“I like it. I mean, it’s small. I don’t like drinking the big bottles of energy juice,” Alicia Sykes added.

Critics say it’s the drink’s concentration that makes it potentially dangerous. Doctors that Young spoke with said they are not surprised to learn the Food and Drug Administration is looking into 13 fatalities possibly linked to the product.

“There are young men and women that have undiagnosed cardiomyopathy. If you don’t know you have some of these risks you may first find out when you start to take these things,” said Dr. Barry Adler of Scarsdale, N.Y.

And, as Young learned, the first symptom could be sudden death. Elizabeth Derobertis, a nutritionist who counsels students, said the small size of the energy shot makes it easy to abuse.

“If they’re studying to go for a test or staying up late at night to get their school work done, not only do they drink one but they drink more than one. That would be a problem,” Derobertis said.

It could be a problem because one bottle of 5-Hour Energy equals three regular cups of coffee. In this case, one or two more is not a good thing. The manufacturer released a statement saying the product is safe if used as directed. The FDA said it has no immediate plans to tighten its regulation of the dietary supplement.

In addition to caffeine, the supplement has nearly a dozen other ingredients that doctors said could potentially increase heart rate and blood pressure even more.

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