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EMERGENCY TREATMENT NECESSARY FOR YOUNG PEOPLE WHO OVERINDULGE IN ENERGY DRINKS

ENERGY DRINKS CAN BE DANGEROUS TO YOUNG PEOPLE

Growing numbers of young people have been hospitalised with caffeine poisoning after consuming energy drinks, suffering symptoms such as hallucinations and seizures, a new study has found.

Researchers have called for the caffeine-laced drinks to be regulated by health authorities with additional labelling and warnings about the potential danger of overdosing.

Energy drinks such as Red Bull, V and Mother are popular with young people and often contain ”energising” extracts such as guarana or ginseng alongside caffeine and sugar.

Researchers Naren Gunja and Jared Brown analysed data from the  Poisons Information Centre, which fields 110,000 poison-related calls a year. They looked at 297 calls related to energy drinks over a six-year period and found the number of people seeking help for caffeine poisoning leapt from 12 in 2004 to 65 in 2010.

Nearly half of the victims – 46 per cent – had mixed their energy drinks with other substances, such as alcohol, drugs or caffeine tablets, while 43 per cent had symptoms that were serious enough to need treatment at a hospital emergency department.

Victims were often young, with a median age of 17, and more than half were men.

Most people experienced stomach trouble or anxiety but a minority, about 7 per cent, suffered severe poisoning symptoms such as hallucinations, seizures or heart problems.

”The phenomenon of mixing energy drinks with alcohol, stimulants and other co-ingestants is clearly occurring and is a serious concern,” the authors wrote.

The report, published today in the Medical Journal of Australia, said a typical can of energy drink could contain up to 300mg of caffeine.

”Consumers are likely to be unaware of the variation in chemical composition and caffeine dosage in energy drinks, and with little or no warnings on products the potential for overdose remains ever-present,” the report says.

Another concern was the 68 young children, including babies as young as seven months, who accidentally consumed the energy drinks over the period studied and suffered symptoms such as hyperactivity.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

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