Australia experts call for energy drink warnings

Researchers in Australia on Monday called for health warnings on caffeine-loaded energy drinks following a spike in the number of people reporting medical problems after drinking them.

Health professionals from the University of Sydney's Medical School and the New South Wales Poisons Information Centre said reports of to drinks like Red Bull and V jumped from just 12 in 2004 to 65 in 2010.

Over the seven years to 2010, 297 calls for assistance were recorded with at least 128 people hospitalised with symptoms including , agitation and stomach upsets.

Of these, 20 people had more serious issues, such as seizures and hallucinations.

The study, published in the Medical Journal of Australia, said the average person affected was 17 years old and that they often mixed with alcohol.

"Our study demonstrates the extent of the growing problem in Australia with energy drink consumption and toxicity, particularly among adolescents," the study's authors wrote.

"Given the clear evidence of toxicity and the growing number of hospitalisations associated with consumption of energy drinks... authorities should increase awareness of the problem, improve package labelling and regulate caffeine content."

They recommended that "labelling and any marketing of these products should include appropriate and the national poisons hotline number". A can of energy drink may contain up to 300 milligrams of caffeine -- compared to an average 65-120mg for a cup of drip coffee -- and Poisons Centre medical director Naren Gunja called for more thorough regulation.

"Things to look at would be... how much caffeine do these drinks contain, how many can you buy at once, what age should you be when you buy them, should there be an age limit to being sold the drinks," he said.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Energy drinks: The coffee of a new generation?

Feb 06, 2009

It's not uncommon for students to consume energy drinks to increase their concentration as they study throughout the night. "Energy drinks are the coffee of a new generation," says Stéphanie Côté, nutritionist ...

University of NH will stop selling energy drinks

Sep 26, 2011

(AP) -- The University of New Hampshire has backtracked on its just-announced plan to stop selling energy drinks on campus, saying it needs more time to study the idea and gather input from students.

Recommended for you

The hunt for botanicals

11 hours ago

Herbal medicine can be a double-edged sword and should be more rigorously investigated for both its beneficial and harmful effects, say researchers writing in a special supplement of Science.

Mozambique decriminalises abortion to stem maternal deaths

13 hours ago

Mozambique has passed a law permitting women to terminate unwanted pregnancies under specified conditions, a move hailed by activists in a country where clandestine abortions account for a large number of maternal deaths.

Infertility, surrogacy in India

13 hours ago

Infertility is a growing problem worldwide. A World Health Organization report estimates that 60-to-80 million couples worldwide currently suffer from infertility.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.