A Queensland mum has warned of the dangers of energy drinks after she claims her teenage daughter began having “seizures” from drinking a single can, purchased from her local supermarket.
Donna Honan said her 14-year-old daughter’s body “began uncontrollably jerking and twitching in what appeared to be a seizure” on Friday, so the worried Sunshine Coast woman called an ambulance.
After being quizzed by the paramedics about what Felicity had to eat and drink earlier in the day, she believed the cause was a 500ml can of Rockstar energy drink.
“After assessing her the ambos said it was the energy drink,” she told Yahoo7.
“I asked if they were sure. They responded by saying, they see this all of the time and receive at least four call outs each week due to energy drinks.”
They told the Coolum woman other symptoms included suffering a rapid heart rate and involuntary body trembles.
“She had eaten dinner as normal and we were watching TV as a family. After the movie she went to get ready for bed then came out about 15 minutes later saying something is wrong.
“Her muscles were all twitching and trembling, and her upper body was sporadically jerking in uncontrollable bursts. Her teeth were chattering uncontrollably also.”
Ms Honan told Yahoo7 Felicity had never had any form of a seizure before Friday night, and she didn’t suffer from any known medical condition, nor does she take any medications that could have brought the episode on.
“I was racking my brain and thought maybe something had bitten her! I didn’t even know she bought one until the ambo’s asked her questions,” she wrote on her Facebook page on Saturday.
“I thought she was having some sort of neurological disorder, the convulsions were quite severe.”
A 500ml can of Rockstar (Guava Punched flavour) Energy Drink contains 160mg of caffeine, according to the caffeineinformer website, which is about the equivalent of two standard cups of coffee. There is also 83.5g of sugar in each can.
According to the Rockstar website, the products are “Designed for those who lead active and exhausting lifestyles – from athletes to rock stars”.
The ambulance officer told her reactions from energy drinks, like her daughter’s, were quite common, and sometimes even fatal. They advised the teen to drink plenty of water to flush the drink from her system, her mum told Yahoo7.
Ms Honan said she had no idea a single can could cause such a reaction, especially given there were no restrictions on purchasing the products.
“I knew these were unhealthy but had no idea they were downright dangerous!
“It is very concerning that these drinks are available in supermarkets given the potential danger of consuming them.”
Ms Honan said Felicity usually ate healthy, so she was surprised the teenager purchased the caffeinated drink from the supermarket.
The woman hoped sharing her daughter’s experience would help make other teenagers and parents aware of the potential dangers of energy drinks.
“I’m now more shocked at what caused it, and hope more teenagers/parents become aware of the dangers.”
The Australian Medical Association warned of the dangers of teens consuming energy drinks, in its 2018 position statement on nutrition.
“Energy drinks are popular among young people. These beverages also contain large quantities of caffeine and should not be readily available to those aged under 18 years,” the AMA stated.
Frucor Suntory, the parent company of Rockstar energy drinks, has been contacted for comment.