Deaths By Caffeine

real-deaths-by-caffeine

Fatalities from caffeine intake are rare. Death by an energy drink is even more rare due to the sheer amount of liquid that would need to be ingested at one time.

However, people with underlying medical conditions could be more susceptible to caffeine overdose with smaller amounts than our Death By Caffeine Calculator would illustrate.

But alas, people have died from too much caffeine, so below we have posted some of the cases in which caffeine was the believed cause of death.

Death By Caffeine Pills

Caffeine pills are dangerous because they deliver a huge dose of caffeine that can be taken multiple times in a short period of time.

1. The death of a 19 year old Connecticut resident, James Stone, has been blamed on “caffeine toxicity”. The culprit was a dose of two dozen No-Doz tablets.

From the New Haven Register:

“I don’t want any other parent to go through what my wife and I have been through,” James Stone Sr. said. “It does not say on the bottle that it will kill you. It says right on the box that it’s like a cup of coffee.”

A quick tote up of the dose equates to about 4800 mg of caffeine (presumably these were the maximum strength No-Doz). As you can see on the box: “Safe as coffee”.

That’s not really true.

Caffeine in the form of this little pill hits you all at once. Drinking the equivalent in coffee takes considerably longer.

This is a tragic story – and serves as a warning. Don’t mess around with caffeine pills – especially if you have high blood pressure issues or heart problems.

2. 26 year old, Gemma Ann Jones from the UK, was found dead after she consumed 50-100 caffeine laden pills called EPH25. It appears that this caffeine death was a suicide.

These pills also contain ephedrine and other dangerous supplements as well as 200mg of caffeine. Link

3. Another woman from the UK, Katie Goard, also recently overdosed by taking diet pills. In this case the pill was called Fat Metaboliser and we are unsure how much caffeine is in each pill, but the coroner established that Katie consumed an equivalent to more than 50 cups of coffee.

Her family also reported that she was also drinking alcohol all evening long prior to her death. Src.

Death by Caffeine Powder

An Ohio teenager, Logan Stiner, was found dead after ingesting a large dose of pure caffeine powder.

The coroner said that the young man’s blood had a caffeine concentration of 70 micrograms per milliliter of blood. (A normal dose of caffeine puts this at 1-15 micrograms per milliliter.) src.

Bulk caffeine powder is popular with bodybuilders and is gaining popularity among teens.

Death by Energy Drinks

A fatal case in Australia was researched in 2009. Between 8am and 3pm the 28 year old patient drank 7-8 cans of an unnamed energy drink. He collapsed at 3pm and suffered a fatal cardiac arrest. Researchers “…postulate a possible role of excessive consumption of caffeinated energy drinks in triggering the life-threatening cardiac events”.

monster energy drink deaths

The FDA is investigating 13 deaths that have been attributed to 5 Hour Energy Shot over the last four years.

Death by Monster

A tragic fatality occurred in the US in 2011 after a 14 year old girl consumed two 24 ounce cans of Monster (480mg caffeine) before going into cardiac arrest.

In 2013 a mother filed a lawsuit against Monster for the death of her 19 year old son. He consumed 3 Monsters in the 24 hours prior to his death and about 2 to 3 a day for the last 3 years. Three 16 oz. Monsters would contain 480 milligrams of caffeine.

Reported Deaths Related to Caffeine Overdose

The American Association of Poison Control Centers tracks all the calls they receive from intentional or accidental overdose of all kinds of substances and drugs including caffeine and energy drinks.

Here is their latest data published in 2012 for the year 2011.

Energy ProductSingle ExposuresAdults 20+Children < 20Deaths
Energy Drinks
(caffeine any source)
1,610*3371,2291
Caffeine2,655*9381,5660
*The ages of some of the individuals were unknown.

The above data tells us that there are indeed people ingesting too much caffeine from products like energy drinks, coffee, and caffeine pills.

The majority of these incidents are happening to those under the age of 20, which is somewhat alarming.

Luckily for the majority of those involved, there was only one reported death as the result of caffeine consumption in 2011 as reported by the AAPCC.

Real death by caffeine does occur, but it is extremely rare.

  • lool

    what did he expect with taking TWO DOZEN!

  • tjg92

    I highly doubt that was an accident.

  • Ducky

    What kind of idiot would drink 24 cups of coffee, anyway?

    Moron.

    Too many people lack common sense.

  • caffeinedream

    If the kid had already progressed to caffeine pills in his slide toward diabetes (a phrase I stole from an author of this site), then we can surmise two important facts:

    1) The kid knew his caffeine limit, as in how much to the “normal” point, how much to the “awesome” point, and how much to the “too much and not doing any good anymore” point.

    2) He knew what that much No-Doz would do and did it anyway.

    Unless, unlike those of us who frequent energyfiend, the kid was not a habitual user of caffeine and had never had anything stronger than mountain dew. Doubtful though it may be, we can’t assume he is like us. He may not have known. Our perspective is tainted because we know just how stupid a move he was making. Either way, we do well to remember caution when it comes to the pills.

  • Corn Videos

    you would have to be real stupid

  • (an) andrew from California

    I see a fat lawsuit coming.
    But I’ll be pissed if the plaintiff win this case… it’s an obvious case of ‘use as directed’

  • Chief2hairs

    Yes it says “safe as coffee.” safe as coffee if you take ONE pill, not the whole box. coffee isn’t safe if you have 24 cups.

  • KarlieMildraed

    Well I’ve taken maybe a maximum of 5 caff. pills at one sitting (figure of speech). My addition would put me at 1000mgs. Five is a good limit. (Methinks, that this story could have been a bet, stunt, dare, etc.) Other than that, caff. pills should be taken at last resort. I figure if two or three Venti Caffe Americanos don’t get me up then I’m doomed for the rest of the day. I figure that will all the newfangeled drug kids out there, caff. pills are cheap and get you to a high of sorts. (But he’s 19??) {Agree with Caffeinedream}

  • Hart

    Summary:
    Kid deserves a Darwin award.

    Parents (apparently)never taught him how to properly read things before eating them.

    Parents (apparently)never taught him not to drink 20-odd cups of coffee in as many hours(Or less).

    I’m sure it sounds callous, but WTF was he on(in the first place) to be dumb enough to try this anyway? Even 24(or so) Advil is bad for you in the sort of time frame he’d have had to ingest this all in.

    The perspective of present posters may be slanted, but if he’s 19, he should have had at least a remedial education regarding what present culture refers to as ‘Drugs’. Enough to know that most(if not all) have side effects, and the more excessive the dosage, the more pronounced the side effect.

    The very principal of a Caffeine pill is to push your body beyond what it could do without the pill, if the kid didn’t know this, he wouldn’t have taken the bloody pills in the first place.

    I can excuse honest stupidity, but to even try and portray the kid as a victim here is simply ludicrous. I do however sympathize with the family, no parent should ever have to mourn their child.

  • tjg92

    OR it could have been a suicide.

  • Karl

    You drink, eat, or take 24 of ANYTHING, all at once, you’re at risk of death.

  • KarlieMildraed

    Suicide by Caffeine sounds like a painful way to go.

  • amelia

    Karl … I’ve eaten 24 Smarties and I’m still here to tell you about it .. mmm Smarties…

  • amelia

    Hart .. I agree on the Darwin award but there are enough disclaimers around, remove the ‘it’s just like coffee’ from the box and put a warning on it just like they have on other boxes .. so that the stupid are protected too!

  • Benjamin

    well I see everyone has their own oppinion on this topic but if you would like to know what happened you can ask me because James was my best friend. You shouldn’t jump to conclusions before knowing who someone is first.

    Thanks

  • Benjamin
  • Hart

    Benjamin, Having poked around your site a bit(I read your journal, I admit it) its safe to say your hurt bad, and will be grieving for a long time.

    Without any disrespect, I’d love to hear more details on the matter, I haven’t been following it closely, but one line from the NHR article linked to in the authors post caught my eye in particular.

    {Snip}”I don’t want any other parent to go through what my wife and I have been through,” James Stone Sr. said. “It does not say on the bottle that it will kill you. It says right on the box that it’s like a cup of coffee.”{/Snip}

    This (I think reasonably) upset me a bit, it reminds me of how many cases in which “the big bad corporation” is getting nailed because people using their products are going far outside of the intended uses. Regardless, I won’t blame you if your upset with me, or regard me with nothing but contempt.

    Still, I am interested to hear the information you have that hasn’t been displayed here anywhere. Having looked at some of the data off your site, I’m now beginning to try and better put in perspective how much caffeine he had in his system. Looking at the Data on NoDoz here{http://www.caffeineinformer.com/caffeine-in-candy/} each pill was 100mg or 200mg so if he took 20 pills it was roughly around 2,000 or 4,000mg of caffeine, Do you know which strength he had been taking? And if you have an idea over what time frame, that’d help immensely.

    Doing some poking around on the net, I found this{Snip}If you are taking more than about 600-750mg a day of caffeine, you would probably feel better if you took less caffeine. {/Snip}
    Here: http://www.nmhct.nhs.uk/pharmacy/caff.htm
    I have no idea how reliable that tidbit(And I suspect all the regulars of this site will laugh at that number) is, but it did help me put the caffeine mg ratio into perspective.

  • Smoove1

    Try some hard stuff (Speed etc.) it won’t kill you quite so quick.

  • http://www.ranchroadmafia.com Michael

    I read a case a long time ago about a kid that took 90 pills on a bet.

    But it’s kind of idiotic to go that far. The most I’ve ever taken was 8 pills. Unfortunately my tolerance was so high at that point I barely felt it. I stopped after that.

    Then I found out how to eliminate a tolerance, and decided on a four pill maximum. I won’t do anymore than that.

  • Roger

    This kid who took those coffee pills took them unaware that it was caffeine pills. It was a young boy who thought it was candy. He died by accident not a suicide. That is why its such a tragic story. The child got into the caffeine pills which should have been treated like other medications in a poison cabinet.
    Proof that he is only a child comes from the math that he died off of only 4800mg of caffeine which is equivalent to 45 brewed coffees on the death by caffeine page. This means the child must have been lighter then 80 lbs.

Last Modified: August 7, 2014