Did 5 Hour Energy Kill 13 People?

5-hour-energy5 Hour Energy Shot is in the hot seat after reports of the FDA’s investigation of 13 deaths over four years that are linked to the popular energy shot.

The wife of one of the victims has even filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the company because her husband died of a heart attack in 2009 after consuming the product daily for about a month prior.

This comes on the heals of a similar investigation concerning Monster Energy Drink and the death of Anais Fournier.

The FDA’s Center for Food Safety Adverse Event Reporting System (CAERS) collects data on adverse reactions to various products. Between the years of 2005 to 2012 there have been 92 reports of adverse reactions from people consuming 5 Hour.

But they do say this about their reporting:

In some reports, information in the reports cannot be verified for accuracy. Furthermore, in many reports, individuals may have used other products, and many products contain multiple ingredients which further complicates the evaluation of adverse event reports. There is no certainty that a reported adverse event can be attributed to a particular product or ingredient.

What’s in 5 Hour Energy Shot?

The shot is basically a concentrated artificially flavored energy drink consisting of a blend of caffeine, amino acids, B vitamins, and sucralose for sweetness.

The Label Lists:

Purified Water, Glycerin, Glucuronolactone, N-Acetyl, L-Tyrosine, L-Phenylalanine, Taurine, Malic Acid, Caffeine, Natural Flavors, Ascorbic Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Niacin, Sucralose, Cyanocobalamin, Folic Acid

The exact amounts of some of these ingredients are hidden in their “Proprietary Blend”, but we found out from the company that the regular shot has around 200mg of caffeine and their Extra-Strength shot has around 250mg. Consumer Reports tested their extra strength shot and found it had 242mg of caffeine and that their standard shot contained 215mg. 

Let’s Keep This in Perspective

While I believe any death is horrible, aLL products come with risk. Anytime, we the consumers, put something into our mouths, we are assuming some degree of risk based on our own body’s unique chemistry and our good or bad judgement.

  • 5-hour-energy-labelAccording to CNN 120 deaths a year occur from peanuts.
  • Drinking too much water kills at least one person a year in the USA.
  • 3.1 million deaths each year are blamed on sugar.

Should the millions of Americans that have heart attacks each year sue the fast food companies for clogging their arteries with their fat filled burgers and french fries? Consumers have to burden at least some part of the responsibility when it comes to the risks involved with eating or drinking things that are questionable.

5 Hour Energy does contain a warning label and these labels are on certain products for a reason.

I imagine most of the victims had some type of underlying health condition that made them more susceptible to problems from products like 5 Hour, but it is up to all of us to make good choices based on what’s best for our unique health profile.

Unfortunately, we live is such a sue happy society, where it seems everyone else is to blame for our own misfortune. I don’t think 5 Hour Energy is at fault, although, they should disclose exactly what’s in their product and not hide behind the term “Proprietary Blend”.

However, since none of the ingredients in 5 Hour would be shown to cause harm at even the secret levels contained in the product, it will be hard to prove that this company is liable for the deaths especially if the warning label wasn’t heeded.

What do you think? Is 5 Hour Energy to blame for the deaths of 13 people? 

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  • What happened to personal accountability!? Can anyone just take responsibility for their own friggin choices?

  • Regular Reader

    Any notion that 5 Hour Energy killed anyone is pure speculation; this is to include the opinion of the administering physician or surviving family members. Humans are herd animals and a lot of people are herding towards “caffeine is bad.” Also, many lawsuits are the result of unscrupulous individuals seeking to avoid work and to get rich on someone else’s dime. The people either make up claims and sue (no proof of actual physical harm) or blame a health problem on a target product. As soon as one person sues, then so does another. It is pathetic.

    5 Hour Energy has about 200mg of caffeine. That is not much. In fact, the FDA has declared that 400mg of caffeine is perfectly safe for healthy adults. Does that mean that 500mg is not safe? Of course not. Millions of people consume well over a gram per day of caffeine. Many of us suffer from low energy that is possibly related to selective adaptation to poor food supplies in winter. We need caffeine to get going. Even wild animals seek out plant sources with caffeine.

    FDA proof: http://www.naturalproductsinsider.com/news/2012/08/fda-responds-to-durbins-energy-drink-letter.aspx

    My guess is that the plaintiffs are all going to lose if the cases proceed to trial.

  • Graham Ham

    The supplement itself cannot be blamed, as there is a warning label. If people can’t self control what the take and how much they shouldn’t have used this in the first place. Have large quantities of almost anything can kill you, even water (As mentioned in the article)! Also if your a person with some sort of physical or perhaps mental condition the product should not take the blame for your actions or decisions

  • tiffany

    I just wanna say me and my husband drink a five hr everyday. And we are both still alive. We do share them so we only drink half. But I believe everyone is different.

  • tiffany

    I live drinking them I used to be addicted to drugs so i believe a five hr is way better for me

  • scott farris

    If he had a heart problem he should not had them. Hi bloodpresser dose it to. Dieabittes to.

  • Ben Begonia

    Happy law suit society is the by product of liberals and democrats who are removing accountability from individuals.

  • Poway Mojo

    So, now 5-Hour is on TV comparinging their caffeine at 200 being less than several Starbucks. BS. 5-Hour is 2 oz at 100mg/oz If you drank the same quantity of 5-hour than a short Starbucks: 800mg of caffeine.

    This is all part of the problem with labeling. One package with good numbers. Then you read the contain has 3-4 of those ‘servings’.

    A fan of 5-hour for long drives but, I combine it with a 12+ oz caffeine free product and take 6 hours to drink it.

  • suzy

    Oh yes, it’s the liberals fault, says the conservative tight ass. The funny thing is most of the liberals i know are peaceful people who would rather not cause problems. The right side, however, tend to love pointing fingers and placing blame while shouting their closed minded opinions from the roof tops. You are ridiculous. Its an article about caffiene, which i sure hope you consume too much of, not a forum for you to blame liberals for,what? 9 lawsuits? Of which we know none of the political views of the plantiffs. Leave it to them to bring politics in to it. While your at it, why dont you blame Obama like im sure you want to. Talk about accountability issues. Good day.

  • Dale Rice

    It’s equivalent based on serving size. Drinking 8 oz of 5 hour energy is a bad idea (though for most people probably not lethal). Not only are you taking a lot of caffeine, but the 5 hour energy has other ingredients that may be hazardous in higher doses. You’re expected to drink 2 oz of 5 hour energy, which is equivalent to 8 oz of various other caffeinated beverages. I used to use 5 hour energy when I worked night shift, and it worked as advertised – a gentle rise in energy levels, followed by a slow decline about four hours later. YMMV based on your own caffeine tolerance, body mass, and body chemistry.

  • Bro an


  • Anonymous

    I tried one of these yesterday, and never will again. They are dangerous! It has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with safety. My blood pressure shot up. I had heart palpitations, vomiting, chills, dizziness, headache, shakiness, etc. and I took the recommended amount with food and water on my stomach. An ambulance had to be called it got so bad. I’m 34 with two children. I don’t have health problems. This product is unsafe without doctor’s permission. End of story.

  • Counteranonymous

    . . .for lack of better reply. . .

    Do you even lift?

    (or exercise actively and intensely?)

  • Robert

    You do realize that Needless Lawsuits have a higher rating in the southern region of America which as we all know has a more conservative point of view. You’re opinions are ungrounded and quite ignorant. Good Day kind sir.

  • Gilwhooley

    Buy some NoDoz…Same thing & hell of a lot cheaper.

  • Jet

    i heard 5 hour energy makes people bad at spelling

  • jdog


  • anonymous

    I have taken this stuff off and on for a couple of years while working and NEVER had anything but great results. No jitters, no headache, just relieved of he sleepiness….AWESOME product

  • Mike B

    5-Hour Energy is lame. Yes. All it did to me was making me want to take a nap afterwards. It probably works if your tolerance of caffeine is already zero. I don’t think it’s possible to sue such a weak yet over-advertised, overly-hyped product.

  • Mufslamer

    Well my dog died to 5 hour energy I only gave it 20 bottles like wtf

Last Modified: June 30, 2016