Update: Energy Drinks Worse for your Heart than Caffeine Alone, Study Finds

April 27, 2017 – A new study published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Heart Association (AHA) has linked the side effects of energy drinks to an increased risk for heart problems beyond those seen with caffeine alone. The researchers suspect that the “proprietary blend” of ingredients in commercial energy drinks may prolong caffeine’s activity in the body, prevent it from being excreted, or that these substances “may have activity of their own above and beyond caffeine.”


Rockstar is America’s 3rd best-selling energy drink, behind Red Bull and Monster. The beverage exploded onto the U.S. market in 2001, boasting an annual revenue average of 103% ($405 million in sales) until 2007, according to Forbes. Despite annual growth slowing to around 8% over the past 7 years, Rockstar is still available in over 20 different flavors in more than 30 countries around the globe.

What’s the Problem?

Rockstar is marketed for boosting energy levels, improving mental performance and aiding weight loss. However, because it is classified as a dietary supplement rather than a beverage, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate the safety of the ingredients contained in Rockstar. According to the Society of Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI), this lack of regulation means that manufacturers are responsible for the safety of ingredients, many of which do not have scientific evidence backing safety or efficacy.

Energy Drink Studies

According to the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP):

  • Energy drinks are consumed by up to 50% of adolescents and young adults;
  • Energy drinks have no therapeutic benefit and many ingredients are understudied and unregulated. Pediatrics also contends that “Energy drinks pose potential health risks primarily because of stimulant content; therefore, they are not appropriate for children and adolescents and should never be consumed,” and
  • U.S. control poison centers have not historically tracked the prevalence of overdoses attributed to energy drinks; however, they were recently given unique reporting codes, so their toxicity can now be tracked.

Energy Drink Overdose in Children & Adolescents

The AAP recommends that minors consume no more than 100 milligrams of caffeine per day. A 16 oz. can of Rockstar contains 160 mg of caffeine, and the 24 oz. can contains a whopping 240 mg. According to an AAP report (PDF), the consumption of energy drinks by children and adolescents is dangerous due to the risk of caffeine toxicity that can cause life-threatening side effects.

Caffeine Overdose Symptoms

According to Healthline, a caffeine overdose may occur when a person ingests more than the daily recommended amount of caffeine, typically around 160 mg for children and 200 to 300 mg for adults. However, a safe amount of caffeine is different for everyone, which makes it difficult to know the exact amount it would take for an individual to overdose.
Common symptoms of a caffeine overdose may include:

  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased thirst
  • Insomnia
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Irritability

Other, more severe symptoms that require immediate medical attention include:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Hallucinations
  • Confusion
  • Chest pain
  • Irregular or fast heartbeat
  • Uncontrollable muscle movements
  • Convulsions

Energy Drinks Linked to Increased Incidence of TBI in Teen Athletes

Teenagers who consume energy drinks are more likely to get traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) compared to those who don’t drink the highly caffeinated beverages, a new study from Canada suggests. Researchers also found that teens who reported getting a TBI within the past year were at least twice as likely to have consumed energy drinks mixed with alcohol than teens who reported sustaining a TBI more than a year previously. Click here to learn more.

What Happens when Energy Drinks are Combined with Alcohol?

Energy drinks are commonly used as mixers with alcoholic beverages. According to Brown University Health Education, this combination carries a number of potential dangers including:

  • The stimulant effect of the energy drink can mask intoxication and prevent you from realizing how much alcohol you’ve had. Fatigue is how the body normally tells the person they’ve had too much to drink.
  • The stimulant effect can also give the person the impression they aren’t impaired. However, no matter how energized you feel, your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is always the same as it would be without the energy drink.
  • Studies indicate that people drink more and have higher BACs when they combine alcohol and caffeinated beverages.
  • Both energy drinks and alcohol are dehydrating, which can hinder the body’s ability to metabolize alcohol and increase toxicity.

Sales of Rockstar Growing

Rockstar sales outpaced energy drink rivals over a 4-week period ending Sept. 5, 2015, according to Seeking Alpha. The company’s sales grew 29.5% Y/Y, easily topping the 11% growth for Monster and 9.4% for Red Bull during the same period. Seeking Alpha considers Rockstar Energy a prime takeover target, despite slowing sales growth in recent years.

Man Develops Acute Hepatitis After Excessive Consumption of Energy Drinks

November 4, 2016 – A new study published in BMJ Case Reports describes the case of a 50-year-old man who developed acute hepatitis after consuming 4 to 5 energy drinks per day for 3 weeks. The man was previously healthy, and he reported no changes in his diet or alcohol consumption, which led doctors to believe his condition was the result of energy drink consumption.

College Bans Energy Drinks Over ‘Problematic Behavior,’ ‘High-Risk Sexual Activity’

February 29, 2016 – Middlebury College in Vermont has banned on-campus sales of energy drinks, claiming the beverages have been linked to ‘high-risk sexual activity’ and other ‘problematic behavior’ including the abuse of ‘intoxicating’ substances. The ban, which will go into effect next week, will apply to Rockstar and other popular energy drinks, according to NBC News.

Just 1 Rockstar Can Lead to Heart Problems, Study Finds

November 8, 2015 – A single 16 oz. can of Rockstar per day can cause potentially damaging physiological changes, according to a study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Those 16 ounces — packed with sugar, caffeine and herbal stimulants — induce a flood of norepinephrine, the “fight or flight” hormone, as well a spike in blood pressure. Click here to learn more.

Do I Have a Rockstar Energy Drink Class Action Lawsuit?

The Pharmaceutical Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in energy drink lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently investigating potential settlements in all 50 states.

Free Confidential Case Evaluation: Again, if you or a loved one has been injured by energy drink side effects, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a lawsuit and our attorneys can help.

FREE Confidential Case Evaluation

To contact us for a free review of your potential case, please fill out the form below or call us toll free 24 hrs/day by dialing: (866) 223-3784.

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