FDA investigates Monster energy drinks linked to 5 deaths

FDA investigates Monster energy drinks linked to 5 deaths

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The Food and Drug Administration is taking a close look at the nation's second best-selling energy drink after five reported deaths were linked to the beverages, sparking a stock sell-off.

Goldman Sachs had previously listed shares of Monster stock as on its "conviction buy" list, but removed it from that group of stocks considered potentially most-profitable after the probe was announced.

The investigation began after parents of a Maryland teenager claimed the drinks that many use for an extra jolt to get through the day killed their 14-year-old daughter, who died from rapid heartbeat after drinking Monster. Now, the FDA is looking into the reported deaths of several people over the past eight years.

A can of Monster contains about 240 milligrams of caffeine, which is about the same as two cups of coffee or a six-pack of Coca-Cola. That high concentration may have contributed to the deaths of five people since 2004.

In an amped-up, caffeinated world, many people turn to canned energy supplements to perk up and push forward during the day -- and Dr. Jon Cole, medical director of the Minnesota Poison Control Center, said those who sucked down one of the drinks recently shouldn't be too concerned.

"First of all, nobody should be concerned if they had a Monster yesterday that they're going to drop dead today," he said.

Cole explained that caffeine is a relatively safe substance, but tolerance levels vary and high doses can have significant effects.

"If you have an underlying seizure disorder -- or if you have an underlying cardiac disorder, a level that is very safe for the vast majority of the population might not be safe for you," he said.

Monster clearly suggests a limit of three per day on its cans, and it also does not recommend the product to children, pregnant women, or those with caffeine sensitivities.

"To me, the most important thing is that people realize that moderation is the key here and that the vast majority of caffeine drinks are safe as long as they're used within reason," Cole said.

Cole encourages people to ask themselves whether or not they would drink 12 cans of soda in just a few hours. If the answer is no, then they shouldn't drink two cans of Monster in that time.

Anyone who has questions about drug reactions or substance issues can call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.

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