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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  • The Truth

    To be fair most people don’t know this information, let alone teens. Better to just ban it at certain levels.

  • kaffer

    God gave man the choice to kill ones self, being stupid is your own problem and my selection of products in my country should not be affected by it.

  • Keyrlis

    I took somewhere near the LD50 dose of caffeine when I was a senior in
    High School by eating a bottle of No-Doz all through the night. I wasn’t
    truly conscious that caffeine HAD a lethal dosage at the time. I wasn’t
    a huge coffee drinker at the time, so my tolerance should not have been
    very high, meaning I guess for once I was quite lucky to have a
    naturally high tolerance. I ended up not going to school the next day to
    turn in the paper I had worked on all night, because I was sore and
    tired. I remember that my joints ached badly, like arthritis
    inflammation, and I was anxious and dehydrated. Although my pulse was
    high and I was effectively useless all that day, I didn’t have much more
    trouble going to sleep than usual, and I had no chest pains or other
    dangerous symptoms. When I woke up later that evening, I was quite well
    rested and even happy. I went back to sleep that night and went to
    school the day afterwards, just like normal, but I was always able to
    drink a cup of coffee and then lay down and go right to sleep.

  • Bill Anderson

    Come on, a lot of people are overreacting here. People are saying that they had like 3 energy drinks and they felt like they were going to die. Yes, just a few energy drinks could kill a child or an adult with other medical issues but for the normal completely healthy adult it is predicted that it would take around 150 mg of caffeine per every kg of body weight to overdose. I agree that children and the medically impaired should NOT have caffeine but if you’re healthy, and not an idiot you really don’t have to worry about overdosing on caffeine. If you don’t believe me, check out this page. You will see that it takes an absurd amount of energy drinks to actually kill an adult.
    https://www.caffeineinformer.com/death-by-caffeine

  • Jonathan

    That kind of thinking is ignorant. Let’s ban water while were at it, people drown in it quite often.

  • Dylan Campbell

    Actually above 8.55g is a fatal dose to most people who are about 200lb and below

  • JeffersonianLiberal1776

    7-8 cans from 8AM – 3PM? What an idiot.

  • Dat Guy

    Ok, so this story is a little long, beware. Short version: even if you have a huge tolerance built up, caffeine overdose is possible and is very unpleasant.

    Back in college, in the second semester of my junior year, I was coming up on the end of a very heavy class load (19 semester hours). As you might imagine, I was pretty tired all the time. So, when finals week came up, I thought I’d be smart and use No-Doz instead of my usual coffee to burn through the fatigue. At this point, I was consuming about 96 fl oz of strong drip coffee a day.

    I woke up one morning, popped a couple No-Doz’s, and got to work cramming. To those nay-sayers, cramming does work, even for people who already know the subject matter. Anyway, after several minutes, I was feeling no effect, so I commenced Operation Stupid and popped another 200mg pill every 10 minutes or so, figuring that I’d only overshoot by a couple pills by the time I felt something.

    At 45 minutes after starting Operation Stupid, I had consumed 1400mg of caffeine and was starting to get a really bad headache. At 1 hour, I was barfing my guts out. At 1 hour 15 minutes, I was completely incapacitated on the couch. Couldn’t even keep water down, head feeling like it was going to explode (even in comparison to my usual migraines).

    My roomie became worried and called his girlfriend, who was studying to be a nurse. There was nothing to do but try to stay hydrated, so they took care of me when they could for the next 32 hours, during which I could not sleep, eat, or drink. Not fun. Needless to say, I didn’t do well in my finals!

    Several years later, I was back to drinking two pots of coffee a day (128 fl oz), and eventually encountered a symptom called “catastrophic cognition”. Look it up – it’s fun.

    So the point is, be careful – you’re not as tough as you might think.

  • Ghandi

    Some tolerances may be significantly lower. I can drink espresso as I am falling asleep for the night, so I’m not typical.

  • jennifer

    no sir it does not each persons body is different my 17 year old had not drank caffeinated drinks in over a year and a half then he drank some monsters and felt really bad we talked he said that he would not drink those again then on sept 26 he took some caffeine pills two caffeine pills and it took his life bottom line his body was not use to caffeine

  • Tacitum

    Btw, is this a painful or painles death? What is the lethal dose?
    But not “LD50”? I hink “LD50” is making no sense. What is the dose per kg bodyweight that klill person 100%?
    No, I search not for a suicide method for me, eg. I still know the “charcoal burning suicide”.

  • fuckyou

    You’re full of shit.

  • opSBS

    boobs can kjill m9

  • neon22

    what would happen,if someone took 20 packets of pro plus, worried about a friend, trying to help out as much as can

  • Ted

    That’s 2000 mg of caffeine and this could be potentially harmful if not deadly depending on your friends health profile.

  • Red

    Right, so say you had fracking chemicals shift into the water table, utilized to provide your community water, and you happened to die or get seriously ill from such to the point where you would be rather debilitated. But I guess you know, stupid is your own problem and you should have moved, prior, or after, regardless of you NOT being able to sell your house on now poisoned, useless land.

    And this is why regulations are necessary. And why regulations for these caffeine products, especially to minors, should probably be regulated, as the research shows that minors seem to be most in danger.

    Or is it too hard for you to not be a selfish prick?

  • z

    are you kidding me? suicide is not “being stupid”, it’s being depressed. when you’re seriously depressed you aren’t thinking logically. i know, i’ve been there. suicidal people need help, not people telling us we’re stupid.

  • Matt

    Very painful! I ingested about 2 tsp of pure caffeine powder, and thought I was going to die. I was sick for over 24 hours. Pure hell!

  • Jobob

    Calculator is for entertainment purposes only and does not replace professional medical advice. See disclaimer.

  • Zenobia R-M

    I drank 8 cans of Red Bull in the last 24 hours as well as 5 NoDoz and 5 cups of coffee and 36 hours without sleep , should I be worried?

Last Modified: May 25, 2017