We all know we shouldn’t drive drunk (or high.) But lately, the FDA has become worried that over-the-counter antihistamines, motion sickness and anti-diarrheal drugs are just as dangerous. Last week, the agency did a briefing (complete with a power point presentation) explaining how “motor vehicles and certain medications don't mix” – especially some that you find right in your file cabinet.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates about 2.5 percent of fatal car accidents and 2 percent of injury crashes involved drowsy drivers. That's up to 6,000 fatal collisions each year.
And if you think that you can overcome fatigue with energy drinks, don’t. As we’ve noted before, those can kill you without even stepping foot inside a car. For example, Heather Felts has just filed a lawsuit after her husband, Shane, died after drinking just one energy drink a day for two weeks.
The drink's manufacturer, she said, touts the energy drink as a dietary supplement when there are few to no documented health benefits.
Felts said her husband consumed Monster Energy Drinks for just two weeks.
He thought an energy drink was supposed to give him energy, but she said it instead left him dead.…
The FDA regulates caffeine content in soda but not in energy drinks because energy drinks are considered dietary supplements.
It's why manufacturers don't have to report the amount of supplements in the drinks - including caffeine content.
The Food and Drug Administration says since 2004 a total of 34 deaths have been linked to different energy drinks.
Remember when Monster decided to remarket itself as a beverage (rather than a dietary supplement) so it will “no longer be required to tell federal regulators about reports potentially linking its products to deaths and injuries.” As we wrote last year, unfortunately, the law right now lets them do that! The New York Times notes, “the changes by [Monster] demonstrate the degree to which energy drink manufacturers can decide which rules to follow.” Not that there is much regulation of the dietary supplement industry anyway, but apparently even some of those rules were just too hard for Monster to follow.
I have to say, the FDA may not be able to regulate much but it sure has been doing a lot of “warning” lately. Also this week, the agency is warning consumers about another kind of speedy drugs: weight loss supplements. It says six of them “contain a dangerous drug that was pulled from the market in 2010 because of the risk of heart attack and stroke. The supplements contain sibutramine, marketed under the brand name Meridia as a weight loss drug before its withdrawal."
The tainted supplements are:
Mix Fruit Slimming, capsules sold on Amazon and other online retailers that are advertised as a "100% natural herbal new slimming pill without any side effects." The pills also contain phenolphthalein, a laxative ingredient the FDA banned in the 1990's because it is potentially carcinogenic.
Lingzhi Cleansed Slim Tea, also sold on Amazon and other online retailers, is advertised to "help to improve the function of intestines and stomach and speed up metabolism."
Trim Fast, available online and possibly in some retail stores, advertised to "suppress appetite, increase your metabolism by up to 18 times, and significantly increase energy."
Lipo 8 is also sold online and in some retail stores as a weight loss pill made from white kidney bean extract to "help eliminate fat before it gets absorbed into the body."
When it comes to the FDA, I guess we’ll take what we can get.