In November, the Food and Drug Administration issued letters to four manufacturers of caffeinated alcoholic drinks after receiving an onslaught of complaints from consumers. In the letters, the FDA warned the manufacturers that their products were unsafe, and that they were likely to cause injury and other lasting harm to consumers. After receiving the letter, Phusion Projects, which made the controversial caffeinated alcohol drink Four Loko, removed the caffeine from its beverage, although the company continues to maintain that combining alcohol and caffeine is safe.
A New Jersey man likely disagrees with that contention. The 22-year-old recently filed a products liability lawsuit against Phusion, alleging that his consumption of Four Loko caused lasting damage to his heart and physical health.
According to the lawsuit, the man consumed two cans of Four Loko after a night out with friends, and then he fell asleep. When he woke up a few hours later, his heart was racing and he was having trouble breathing. He was transported to the hospital by ambulance, where a doctor diagnosed him with a heart arrhythmia. The lawsuit alleges that the heart condition is a “direct result of consuming Original Four Loko”, which contains as much alcohol as in four cans of beer and as much caffeine as in two cups of coffee.
The FDA letters support the contention that Four Loko is highly unhealthy. The agency stated that the combination of the depressant alcohol and the stimulant caffeine creates a “dangerous wide-awake drunk”. Because consumers do not feel the tiredness that typically comes after alcohol consumption, they are more likely to continue drinking and engage in unsafe behavior, potentially resulting in drunk driving or alcohol poisoning.
If you have been injured as a result of a dangerous or defective product, please contact Breslin & Breslin for a free consultation.
Source: Daily Mail, “Man sues Four Loko after the banned caffeine and alcohol drink ‘gave him lasting heart damage from just two cans'”, 22 March 2011