The Food and Drug Administration is investigating five deaths that may have been caused by Monster Energy Drink, a highly caffeinated beverage.
The news of the FDA's investigation follows a filing last week of a wrongful death suit in California, submitted by parents of a 14-year-old girl who died after drinking two 24-ounce Monster Energy Drinks in 24 hours.
While shopping, Cora Richards of Syracuse talked about the negative experience with energy drinks that convinced her to stay away from them.
"I had one and it made me sick because of the caffeine. And then 4 hours later, I was dead to the world," says Richards.
Dr. Donna Bacchi at Upstate University Hospital warns too much caffeine can be dangerous.
"Caffeine is a stimulant. So taking a large amount at one time can have significant consequences. A lot of times people can feel jittery, they may have heart palpitations and in some individuals they can have an abnormal rhythm," says Bacchi.
The popular energy drink sold in most convenience stores and vending machines contains 240mg of caffeine. That's the equivalent to 5 cans of soda.
"I think the most important message is that people need to realize that the amount of caffeine is a lot more than is regulated for soda. And drinking them like you would a can of soda can cause significant problems," says Bacchi.
Energy drinks like Monster aren't regulated by the FDA because they're considered a dietary supplement, not a food. The lack of regulation means parents need to be even more vigilant.
"I don't worry about the adults. It's the children. They're drinking it and like you said, deaths are happening. And they don't know. They might drink two or three of them and they don't know the potential it has," says Richards.