Documented Deaths By Caffeine

Fatalities from caffeine intake are rare. Deaths by energy drinks are rarer due to the large amount of liquid that would need to be ingested at one time.

real-deaths-by-caffeine

However people with underlying medical conditions could be more susceptible to caffeine overdose with smaller amounts than our caffeine calculator would illustrate. See also the coffee overdose calculator to check your safe levels.

Tragically, people have died from too much caffeine, and here are some of the cases where caffeine was believed to cause of death.

Death By Caffeine Pills

Caffeine pills are dangerous as 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 tally 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 amount 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.

4. 24-year-old Cara Reynolds from the UK recently overdosed on raspberry ketone pills that also contained 160 mg of caffeine each. This was an intentional overdose due to her mental state after breaking up with her boyfriend.

The coroner estimated her blood caffeine level to be equivalent to that of drinking 225 cans of Red Bull. Link.

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.

The BBC News recently reported that a university in England mistakingly administered 30 grams of caffeine powder to two students participating in a study about the effects of caffeine on exercise. The students were supposed to have received .3 grams or 300 mg. Although typically 30 grams would be a lethal dose for most people, due to prompt medical attention, these students didn’t die. Both students have made a full recovery.

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

Death by Energy Drinks

1. A fatal case in Australia was researched in 2009. Between 8 am and 3 pm the 28-year-old patient drank 7-8 cans of an unnamed energy drink. He collapsed at 3 pm 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”.

2. A Nigerian man died after drinking 8 cans of Bullet Energy Drink. He did this as part of a bet to win less than 100usd. After he finished the last can, he became unconscious and was pronounced dead a short time later. It is unclear how much caffeine is in Bullet, but it seems comparable to that of a Red Bull. Source.

3. A Japanese man died from drinking too many energy drinks along with possible intake of caffeine pills.

Shinichi Kubo, a professor of forensic medicine at the university, concluded that the man had died from a caffeine overdose and reported the results to the police after carrying out an examination. While no other illness or abnormality was recognized, a small amount of alcohol was found in the man’s blood and a high concentration of caffeine was contained in his gastric residuals, blood, and urine. Source.

4. In 2017, a 16-year-old South Carolina high school student died from consuming too much caffeine according to the Richland County Coroner. (src.) There was no pre-existing heart condition discovered during the autopsy. It is believed that Davis Allen Cripe consumed a large McDonald’s latte, a large Mountain Dew, and an unknown energy drink within the two hours proceeding his collapse in the classroom. This comes right on the heels of a recent study that found energy drinks to have a greater impact on blood pressure and heart rate than beverages that contain just caffeine alone. Even though Davis didn’t consume a lethal amount of caffeine, something with the combination of what he consumed caused him to have a severe arrhythmia, which led to his death.

monster energy drink deaths

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

Death by Monster

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. In 2015 a 19-year-old man reportedly drank 3 1/2 twenty-four fluid ounce Monsters and then played basketball. He collapsed while playing and died at the hospital. His father is now suing Monster (January 2017) for unspecified damages. This young man would have consumed 840 mg of caffeine in short period of time. The cause of death was cardiac arrhythmia which was triggered by the excessive caffeine and vigorous exercise. Source.

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 2014 for the year 2013.

Energy ProductSingle ExposuresAdults 20+Children < 20Deaths
Energy Drinks
(caffeine any source)
1,685*3431,2980
Caffeine2,516*9431,4530
*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 were no reported deaths as the result of caffeine consumption in 2013 as reported by the AAPCC, but 1,182 people were treated at a medical facility as the result of the exposure with 12 people experiencing major negative health symptoms.

While death by caffeine does occur, it is extremely rare.

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  • tjg92

    But Roger, he was 19.

  • TheMatt

    Some people are much more sensitive to caffeine then others and just a few pills can cause a near deadly heart murmur. I know a kid (well he was 20 at the time) who took a small amount of 3 caffeine pills and had a heart murmur. Heart problems were in the family and he was and still is a small person for his age.

    I say this simply to illustrate the way this site’s death calculator works. It is saying that that would kill you no matter what. With out a doubt you are dead. Some bodies have no tolerance for the substance and when rushed with it they explode instantly and die. Well…not so literally.

    I know my limit, anyone who does not know his/her limit should stay with the Dr. Pepper and Mt. Dew for energy boosts. Maybe when they are a big boy/girl they can drink some decaffeinated coffee, Yum…

    It says he was 19 in the article; he was no child. Just a boy who was either bored, or stupid, or suicidal among many other possibilities. He was sensitive to caffeine and not to bright. He probably saw that it would take 40+ pills to kill him so took a smaller number to “get high” and “stay safe”. Caffeine is dangerous, and only those who are bright enough to know their limits should take it.

  • Skooma

    I can understand why he would try to down so many. Those damn things fail me so bad. Good thing a pack of 2 is only $99

  • Benjamin

    He was not suicidal though. He just didnt understand how these pills could affect you. James was a loving person and would never have commited suicide. No-doz and other caffeine substitutes should have a chemical in them that would make you get sick if you took too much like lozenges have in them. It is a safety precaution. On top of that these bottles should also have a more definative warning on them than what is currently on the bottle!

  • sushifan

    I don’t mean to be rude or insensitive but there are lots of products on the market that can kill you if misused. At some point as a consumer you have to exercise common sense, no company can come up with all of the ways that someone can abuse their product and warn them against it. The box says No Doze is as safe as coffee, but isn’t it common knowledge that the caffeine in coffee can have nasty side effects for people? I mean, there isn’t decaf all over the place just because. I feel sorry for the parents but at 19 you should know better than to take an entire bottle of any thing. Why did James feel the need to take 24 pills? Would he have chugged 24 cups of coffee? At a certain point you have to stop expecting people and companies to look out for you and you have to look out for yourself.

  • videoCWK

    Hey, 24 cups of coffee would be bad for you too. On top of the insane amount of caffeine, I don’t know if your bladder could hold that much at one time. It’d probably explode and soil your internal organs with pee, which would kill you pretty fast.

  • Hart

    Having exchanged a few emails with Benjamin, I’m going to just out and out say it:

    People make mistakes, James made one taking as many pills as he did.

    I’m a lot more surprised, with how many people are here at the amount of people here that are still making mistakes.

    For example..
    {Snip}Maybe when they are a big boy/girl they can drink some decaffeinated coffee, Yum…

    It says he was 19 in the article; he was no child. Just a boy who was either bored, or stupid, or suicidal among many other possibilities.{/Snip}

    Nothing personal Matt, but I’ve talked with Benjamin, gotten the whole story, and frankly, your out of line, as I was.

    Suffice to say, there’s more than the media is noting(an ever so common occurrence) that falls “among many other possibilities.” I’m sure if you had all the info, you’d be doing a quick reversal(as I have).

  • Bill

    Hasn’t anyone bothered to view the pictures on the site? As someone with a bit of knowledge on the subject, I can safely say that he was mentally handicapped in some way.
    The fact is, once you turn 18 you are legally an adult, developmentally delayed or not. Whether or not they “should” be, these people are living independently and part of our society, and we have an obligation to protect them. Even in our litigious society, the warnings on products are often not enough for these individuals, and I can see how he must have been deceived by the “safe as coffee” claim.
    My condolences to Jimbo’s family and friends, this must be a terrible time for you.

  • coffeefreak

    this is even more insane than some of you think because the 200 mg. of caffeine in a no doz pill is equivalent to TWO cups of coffee so in reality he would have to drink 48 cups of coffee to get the same results. he had to know what he was doing when he took this many pills.

  • G

    no sympathy for stupid people

  • MisterMIKE

    Guys…enjoy energy drinks and caffeine pills while they last There will always be someone who abuses a product to a point that they either die, get sick, or seriously injured and of course instead of taking responsibility for their actions try to make a dollar off of their stupidity by issuing a lawsuit in the name of getting a unsafe product pulled off the shelves therefore ruining it for the people who use the products responsibly- true story this is america

  • Jennifer Williams

    Reading this thread, has really driven the message home just how ignorant people truly are. What a lot of people who have hurtful things to say to people who are suffering from this dreadful loss (I shall pray for them too) is really not a display of know how but ignorance. I am getting my masters in health sciences with a strong concentration on drug education. The No-doz pills are indeed a very dangerous thing to contend with. I mean come on folks lets get real; who would think that coffee, even 24 cups of it can kill you? I used to hang out in coffee shops and people drank pretty close to that amount quite often. The thing that isn’t clear is that the coffee some of these hard-core coffee drinkers drank was drawn out over a long period of time. Coffee even in the 115mg dosage found in drip coffee can be hazardous to the health. These caffeine pills are indeed hazardous and it is for the very reason that this poor unfortunate gentleman had suffered for. They are too much too quick; and appear safer than they actually are. If he was to drink the same amount of coffee (oh yes it can be done) he would have been feeling the effects after just a few glasses. Most especially his system would have had time to adjust the concentration levels in the blood. The most likely scenario here sounds like his blood pressure and heart rate went up to high and he had an arrythmia which led to a heart attack or a siezure. All of those things can be caused by regular doses of coffee! I commend the parents who came out with this and will say that their courage will not be in vain: people need to be aware of this and this needs to be out in the open before more youth suffer.

  • This is such bullshit.. I can’t beleieve the sympathy you guys are giving this person.

    The guy is obviously a little “challenged” from his pictures, but even more so by taking a whole bottle of caffeine pills!

    I am not out of line at all, people die all the time from taking whole bottles of tylenol, don’t attack caffeine like it’s some toxic drug that killed him out of the blue! -How dare you!-

    It must have sucked for the family, yes. The website says he was funny and he obviously liked caffeine (much like myself) but that’s where the similarity ends..

    Take a whole bottle of lortab, valium, everclear or even tylenol and see what happens!

    -If anything this gives me a reinforced feeling of safety, I wouldn’t think of taking an entire bottle of caffeine pills, and I obviously way much more than him, with a more strongly developed physiology.-

  • ok so maybe my last comment was a bit insensitive…

    I must admit that I have some anxiety issues I developed somehow and that makes me weaker to caffeine nowdays..

    when I was a bit younger I took two of these high caffeine capsules (tons of it if I remeber right…) and drank two HUGE sweet teas right after and I got Overdose syptoms… (I felt cold, irrational, my chest felt cold, cold sweat, nervousness, fear of impending doom…etc..)

    Looking further at the guys pictures he doesn’t look ‘challenged’ at all.. he was just goofy sometimes, like I am.. he reminds me alot of me, and that makes me sad.. I could have had the same fate, and I’m sorry for the above comment..

    (although I stand by my brash statement of the stupidity of taking the whole bottle in my above comment…)

  • Bonzo

    Hart or Benjamin could one of you please tell me these facts about this particular case that aren’t revealed in the article. I seriously want to hear the “whole story”.

    It will take a lot to convince me that I should feel bad for him because it was a drug, an OTC drug yes but I wouldn’t take 24 of any OTC drug be it ibuprofen or 24 shots of cough syrup. I would however eat 24 cough drops because the are in fact candy.

  • Byron

    I took 23 at my prom and ended up throwing up all night, not being able to sleep and the worst stomach feeling ive ever had. Seriously stay away from these and dont be stupid like me

  • Georghios

    Nice…

  • ashleu

    I couldnt survive without No Doz…I take it all the time. However im smart enough to know that you can overdose on caffeine. DUH! Are they sure it wasnt a sucide? I only take about 1 pill at at time…wait for that to ware off then take another if needed.

    Some people are really dumb.

  • DarkurTymes

    Ill be short and simple.
    If it has drug facts on it read them.
    Anything that does.
    I do feel sorry for him.
    But I can’t say there is any legitimate reason to sue or raise too much alarm.

  • Mikul

    What a surprise- popping 24 200mg caffeine pills can kill you, just as popping 24 Tylenols could do the same. I would hope for people to be bright enough to realize the above without needing it explicitly written on the front of the box/bottle, but that’s probably too much to hope for. Stupidity such as this helped fan the scare-mongering about Ephedrine as well.

    If someone drank a gallon of cough syrup and died, would we blame the cough syrup, or just consider that person an idiot?

Last Modified: May 25, 2017