A study of national poison control center data has reported that public and health care providers filed 5,156 incidents of energy drink exposure between October 2010 and September 2013, with 40 percent of cases involving children younger than age 6. Presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2014, the new research warned that among cases with major outcomes, “cardiovascular effects (including an abnormal heart rhythm and conduction abnormalities) were reported in 57 percent of cases, and neurologic effects (seizures, including status epilepticus) in 55 percent.”

The study also identified moderate or major health outcomes in 42 percent of cases involving energy drinks mixed with alcohol and 19 percent of cases involving alcohol-free energy drinks. Based on these findings, the researchers have evidently called for additional labeling to educate consumers about “energy drinks’ high caffeine content and subsequent health consequences.”

“The reported data probably represent the tip of the iceberg,” said senior author Steven Lipshultz, chair of pediatrics at Wayne State University and pediatrician-in-chief at Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit. “Energy drinks have no place in pediatric diets… And anyone with underlying cardiac, neurologic or other significant medical conditions should check with their healthcare provider to make sure it’s safe to consume energy drinks.” See American Heart Association Press Release, November 16, 2014.