Energy drink exposures reported to Texas poison centers: Analysis of adverse incidents in relation to total sales, 2010–2014


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Abstract

The ill-defined term “energy drink” includes a disparate group of products (beverages, shots, concentrates, and workout powders) having large differences in caffeine content and concentration and intended use. Hence, inaccurate conclusions may be drawn when describing adverse events associated with “energy drinks”. The FDA is considering new regulation of these products but product specificity is needed to evaluate safety. To help address this, we queried Texas Poison Center Network data for single substance exposures to "energy drinks" from 2010 to 2014, then analyzed adverse events by product type. We specifically compared energy beverage exposures with sales data for the same time period to evaluate the safety profile of this category of energy drinks.Among 855 documented "energy drink" exposures, poison center-determined outcome severity revealed 291 with no/minimal effects, 417 judged nontoxic or minor/not followed, 64 moderate and 4 major effects, and no deaths. Serious complications included 2 seizures and 1 episode of ventricular tachycardia. Outcome severity by category for beverages: 11 moderate/1 major effects (none in children <17 years); shots: 19 moderate/2 major; non-liquids: 16 moderate/1 major; concentrates: 7 moderate; unknown: 10 moderate. Call incidence to poison centers for beverage type exposures was 0.58 (for moderate effects) and 0.053 (for major) per hundred million units sold.Small volume and concentrated products were associated with a greater number of adverse effects than beverage versions of "energy drinks".HIGHLIGHTSPoison center ‘energy drink’ cases (2010–2014) had fewer serious outcomes than reported in past.66% of major/moderate adverse outcomes were associated with shots/concentrates/non-liquids.19% of major/moderate adverse medical outcomes were associated with energy beverages.Reported incidence of adverse events suggests serious outcomes for energy beverages are rare.

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