A South Carolina teen has died from a caffeine overdose after drinking soft drinks, coffee and an energy drink.16-year-old Davis Allen Cripe collapsed and died last month from the consumption.
"On this particular day within the two hours prior to his death, we know had consumed a large diet Mountain Dew, a cafe latte from McDonalds and also some type of energy drink," said Richland County coroner Gary Watts in an NBC News report. He did not know what kind of energy drink was consumed. "It was so much caffeine at the time of his death that it caused his arrhythmia."
"I realize this is a controversial scenario," Watts said. "There are are obviously people that don't think this can happen -- that you can have this arrhythmia caused by caffeine."
An autopsy was performed and there was nothing to indicate any type of undiagnosed heart condition, according to Watts. A medical examiner and a forensic toxicologist both examined Cripe.
"Based on his weight, the intake of caffeine that he had exceeded what is considered a safe level," Watts told NBC News.
Watts said he hopes people can become more wary of caffeine intake.
"The purpose here today is not to slam Mountain Dew, not to slam cafe lattes, or energy drinks. But what we want to do is to make people understand that these drinks — this amount of caffeine, how it's ingested, can have dire consequences. And that's what happened in this case," he said.
Caffeine prompts the release of natural compounds called catecholamines, including norepinephrine, a stress hormone that can speed the heart rate according to a report by USA Today. Documented caffeine overdoses have indicated that it can cause irregular and rapid heart rates and seizures.
The Food and Drug Administration had stated that caffeine in doses up to 400 mg (about five cups of coffee) is generally safe.
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