Five people may have died in recent years after drinking Monster Energy, a popular energy drink that is high in caffeine, according to incident reports recently released by the Food and Drug Administration.
The reports, like similar filings made with the F.D.A. in cases connected with drugs or medical devices, do not prove a link between Monster Energy and the deaths or health problems. The records were recently obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the mother of a 14-year-old Maryland girl who died in December from a heart arrhythmia after drinking large cans of Monster Energy on two consecutive days.
Last week, Wendy Crossland, the mother of that teenager, filed a lawsuit against Monster Beverages, a publicly traded company in Corona, Calif., that used to be known as Hansen Natural. The lawsuit charges that Monster failed to warn about the risks of its energy drinks; a spokeswoman for the company said last week that its products were safe and not the cause of the teenager’s death.
That spokeswoman, Judy Lin Sfetcu, added that Monster was “unaware of any fatality anywhere that has been caused by its drinks.”
In an interview, an F.D.A. spokeswoman, Shelly Burgess, said the agency had received reports of five deaths possibly linked to the drink as well as another report of a heart attack. The reports cover a period of 2004 to June of this year.
The reports do not make clear whether the incidents involved other factors, like alcohol or drugs. However, the number of reports that the F.D.A. receives about any product it regulates usually understates by a large degree the actual number of problems.