How pregnant woman's soft drink addiction may have led to her death

A pregnant woman’s consumption of coke and energy drink may have led to her tragic death, a coroner has found.

Amy Louise Thorpe, from Invercargill on New Zealand’s south island, died on December 4 2018 after she had an epileptic seizure.

She was 15 weeks pregnant when she died, and since conceiving she had about one seizure a week.

According to a coroner’s report, Ms Thorpe was addicted to soft drink, consuming about two litres of Coke and between 500ml and a litre of energy drinks a day.

She saw a neurologist in the month before her death who said her epilepsy diagnosis was uncertain, but treated her on the basis of that diagnosis.

He advised Ms Thorpe to change medication and undergo EEG monitoring but she was reluctant.

Amy Thorpe died at home when she was 15 weeks pregnant. Source: Christchurch Crematorium Funerals

Dangers of consuming excessive caffeine

Coroner David Robinson sought advice from the same doctor about the potential effects of her excessive caffeine consumption, who said studies suggest it can increase seizure susceptibility.

In some cases, the chronic consumption of caffeine can protect against seizures but in other cases can lower the efficiency of a number of drugs, including topiramate which is used to treat epilepsy.

Coroner Robinson said in the report people needed to be aware of the potential consequences to consuming a lot of caffeine, especially in people who suffer from epilepsy.

He recommended advice be given to patients with epilepsy to mitigate any similar deaths.

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