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Caffeine poisoning on the rise - study
ENERGY DRINKS: Adverse reactions and toxicity from the beverages are primarily linked to caffeine.
Researchers in Australia have found that a growing number of people are reporting caffeine toxicity from energy drinks, especially teenagers.
According to a study published in The Medical Journal of Australia, nearly 300 calls were made to the New South Wales poisons centre regarding adverse reactions to energy drinks between January 2004 and the end of 2010, with more than a third of people attending hospital.
The authors say the report is a ''warning call'' for health authorities to better educate the public on the risks associated with high-energy drinks, and require beverages to display health warnings similar to those found on over-the-counter caffeine tablets.
For the study, Naren Gunja, a medical director and toxicologist at the NSW Poisons Information Centre, and Jared Brown, a senior poisons specialist, reviewed all the centre's calls relating to toxicity of high-energy drinks covering the seven-year period.
Calls regarding caffeinated energy drinks increased from 12 in 2004 to 65 in 2010, with recreational use the most common type of exposure.
Adverse reactions and toxicity from the beverages are primarily linked to caffeine.
Caffeine toxicity can mimic amphetamine poisoning, cause seizures, psychosis, cardiac arrhythmias and rarely even death, but the most common symptoms reported include irregular heart rate, tremors, stomach upsets and dizziness.
Teenagers were the most common age group affected, and energy drinks were often consumed with other stimulants, mainly alcohol.
Red Bull and V accounted for almost two-thirds of the energy drink-related cases referred to the centre, followed by Mother and Pulse.