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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  • daniel edwards

    half life of caffeine is about 5 hours. which means that if you take 4 when you wake up, 4 five hours later, 4 five hours later, that by the time that third dose hits you, you only have “1” of the first dose left and “2” of the second dose left, totalling 7 at one time. which is significantly less than 24 at one time

  • Greg

    This article is opinionated and inaccurate as far as can tell.

    These are for sure as safe as coffee, stating other wise is your opinion. Drink enough coffee and you’ll experience some first hand death as well.

    Furthermore, the bottle has recommended dosages…

    I love the quote, “It does not say on the bottle that it will kill you.”

    Neither does bottle watered, but if you drink enough you’ll die. Here’s a tip parents: Too much of almost anything can kill you. Lets label the world because your son made some really bad choices.

  • Martin

    Greg (5/8/12) – are you for real?

    “These are for sure as safe as coffee” – concerntrated anything is very unlikely to ever be as safe as anything in an unconcerntrated form.

    Take as per the bottle assumes that the person or company printing the label knows what they are talking about, is the drug licensed? No? Trust the label then?

    Maybe they know a little or a lot, your choice on what you take.

    Cups of coffee – How many to poison you? Well I am a big lad, 115KG. I worked out myself based on previous articiles anything between 300 and 500 cups in about a 3-4 hour window, not very likely (pure volume of liquid). But I think I could consume many many little pills quite easily in that time, I have my diabetic pills and simvastatin in about 3 seconds. The problem with pills and dosage is that some people are either trying hard (this case I think), stupid or something else and pills are easy to take in a large enough quantity, drinking coffee it is neigh on impossible to die from a caffeine overdose (there is always an execeptional case).

    Honestly I find your comment after the first line useless, actually tell a lie, potentially dangerous. The first line I can’t argue against, I would need the facts from you.

    Dear readers, don’t take caffeine pills unless seriously advised to by a GP or MP and drink coffee to your hearts content unless you don’t like it or are medically advised not to.. simple enough??

  • Simon

    There is a thing called Darwinism it makes the world a better place by killing off people dumb enough to take 24 maximum strength caffeine pills.

  • Lexi

    The back of No Doz says “Take 1/2 to 1 caplet not more often than every 3 to 4 hours.” These pills are not unsafe when used in moderation. Clearly, this person took more than the recommended dose. As sad as it is that they paid the ultimate price, it was not the fault of the company. Taking one pill is is equivalent to most cups of coffee. In fact, according to the Mayo Clinic’s website, there are 330mg of caffeine in a Starbuck’s Pike Place 16 oz. coffee. That is 130mg MORE than a No Doz pill, and is obviously still safe, since it is still on the menu. It is important to adhere to the dosage guidelines, unless instructed by a medical professional not to. This was an issue of common sense, not product safety.

  • Patrick

    I drink monster drinks quite often but I have to be careful as I have had super vantricular tachicardia happen on quite a few occasions … sent my heart rate into double time and recorded at 230 bpm.

  • Dillon

    There are a few things I would like to say. The first starts out in the form of a question. Why does someone take 24 maximum strength caffeine pills at a time..unless they were trying to find a legal way to get high? I have been around druggies my entire life. Or maybe, and I really hate to insult the dead here, but what if he knew that it would kill him? Also, I find it humorous that they did not name the alleged energy drink that killed the 28 year old, but they named Monster in another case. Also, even a child knows not to believe everything they read on the Internet. Furthermore, what we do not know in any of these cases, if they even happened, are things like preexisting health conditions, weight, or other things consumed. Think about itl.

  • Paul

    They fail to mention that the 14 year old in the Monster drink case (Anais Fournier) had an underlying cardiac problem that was the actual cause of death. It is possible, maybe even likely, that the caffeine and other supplements in the energy drinks might have triggered the heart failure, but it is far from certain.

    Regardless, it was not the drinks that actually caused the death. Cardiac issue without the drinks = probable eventual death from heart failure. Drinks without the cardiac problem = Little to no chance for any harm beyond a case of the jitters and a sugar crash half an hour later. So we can stop blaming the drink for this one, I think.

  • AmidMany

    They outlawed Energy drinks in France but could not find any proof that they caused harm. Hysteria won.

  • Isabella Swan

    Many people dont understand what moderation is. This all wouldn’t happen if people had common sense and understood moderation. they have done this to themselfs. dont punish caffeine for it. it was the peoples’ fault not the drinks.

  • Toby Mugg

    Intentionally taking 24 caffeine pills is called suicide. Not trying to be disrespectful, its just the truth. If I took 24 acetaminophens I would die of liver failure and they would call it a suicide. As I’ve taken 400 mg of caffeine in one dose and felt the effect, I would never ever think of surpassing 800mg. Unless of course I wanted to end it all. Then for sure I’d take 10-20. (For the record, if you hear about me killing myself it was a setup.)

  • mike

    The girl that died from drinking two 24 oz monsters didn’t die only because of the monsters she also had a pretty severe heart problem and didn’t know she had one so its not only the energy drink company’s fault.

  • hgkfkytf

    ok

  • HAIIII

    Hai

  • Fred

    Hi,

    I have found this site after reading about a man in the UK who died after consuming a packet of 12 Hero mints. Each tablet contained 80mg

    I would like to know if a caffeine overdose would be a painful way of dying, and how long death would actually take.

    Thanks

  • Ted

    I imagine that it would be similar to the pain associated with a heart attack, since it stops the heart.

  • Garma Nato

    4800 mg of caffeine… that’s like 6 times the recommended amount.

  • Sarah

    this is redicoulose

  • rockin refuel

    wow a lot of people have died

  • pickles33

    Shut it

Last Modified: May 25, 2017