Study: People with a History of Heart Disease or High Blood Pressure Should Avoid Energy Drinks

A new study shows that energy drinks may increase blood pressure and lead to a dangerously high heartbeat.

The study is an analysis of seven previous studies. It showed that these drinks appeared to disturb the heart’s natural rhythm. Over time, the drinks may lead to an irregular heartbeat or death and raise blood pressure, according to the study. The study results were presented by the American Heart Association on March 21 during a convention in New Orleans.

Two commonly sold energy drinks are Monster Energy Assault and Rockstar.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration have been investigating the drinks, which are made by companies including Monster Beverage Corp., Living Essentials LLC and Red Bull GmbH. The FDA was called upon by consumers and lawmakers after the drinks were linked to hospitalizations and death.

The study appears to show that consumers, especially those with pre-existing heart conditions, should be cautious when buying these drinks.

Sachin Shah, the lead study author, said the drinks should be used only in moderation. Shah is an assistant professor of pharmacy practice at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif.

The producers of energy drinks are not bound by FDA guidelines for caffeine in sodas because the drinks are often sold as dietary supplements. The FDA noted last year that soda has up to 71 milligrams of caffeine per 12-ounce drink. Meanwhile, caffeine in energy drinks ranges from 160 milligrams to 500 milligrams a serving, the FDA said.

A group of doctors recently wrote FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg about the energy drinks. They said these drinks should be allowed to have no more caffeine than sodas. The physicians also urged the FDA to require companies to list caffeine content on all labels.

In the new study, scientists evaluated 93 people after they drank up to three energy drinks. They found that the QT interval, which is a segment of the heart’s rhythm on an electrocardiogram, was 10 milliseconds longer after they consumed the drinks.

If patients have an extra 30 milliseconds in their QT interval, doctors often prescribe more tests. A typical QT interval is about 400 milliseconds. People who have already suffered a heart attack or heart failure may already have a longer QT interval. These people should the energy drinks, which can push up their QT interval by another 10 milliseconds.

In another study — which included 132 patients — researchers found that systolic blood pressure, the top number of the blood pressure reading that measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats, increased about 3.5 points on average after drinking an energy drink. People with high blood pressure should avoid the drinks, scientists said.
Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Illinois product liability lawsuits for over 37 years, serving those areas in and around Cook County, including Glenview, Elk Grove Village, Oak Park, Alsip, Wilmette and Bolingbrook, Ill.

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