ER visits tied to energy drinks double since 2007

ER visits tied to energy drinks double since 2007

Credit: Getty Images

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 15: The drink 5-Hour Energy is viewed for sale at a grocery store on November 15, 2012 in New York City. The federal government and the New York Attorney General's office have announced that they are investigating the popular energy drink after the Food and Drug Administration received claims that 5-Hour Energy has over the past four years led to 13 deaths and 33 hospitalizations. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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by GARANCE BURKE / Associated Press

KING5.com

Posted on January 16, 2013 at 3:58 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 13 at 1:16 PM

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- A new government survey suggests the number of people seeking emergency treatment after consuming energy drinks has doubled nationwide during the past four years, the same period in which the supercharged drink industry has surged in popularity in convenience stores, bars and on college campuses.

From 2007 to 2011, the government estimates the number of emergency room visits involving the neon-labeled beverages shot up from about 10,000 to more than 20,000.

Most of those cases involved teens or young adults, according to a survey of the nation’s hospitals released late last week by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The report doesn’t specify which symptoms brought people to the emergency room but calls energy drink consumption a “rising public health problem” that can cause insomnia, nervousness, headache, fast heartbeat and seizures that are severe enough to require emergency care.

Several emergency physicians said they had seen a clear uptick in the number of patients suffering from irregular heartbeats, anxiety and heart attacks who said they had recently downed an energy drink.

Energy drinks remain a small part of the carbonated soft drinks market, representing only 3.3 percent of sales volume, according to the industry tracker Beverage Digest. Even as soda consumption has flagged in recent years, energy drinks sales are growing rapidly.

In 2011, sales volume for energy drinks rose by almost 17 percent.

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