ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - The Food and Drug Administration continues the investigation into a string of deaths possibly linked to popular energy drinks.
None of the deaths happened in New Mexico, but KRQE News 13 has learned there have been some visits to the hospital.
"I started feeling heavy," says 17-year-old Briana Mesa. "I started going pale, I was told."
She says she was rushed to Presbyterian Hospital in January hours after drinking an Amp energy drink on an empty stomach.
"I was shaking, and my heart was feeling weird because I wasn't feeling myself after I drank them, which should stop me from drinking them but that doesn't necessarily do that," Mesa says.
The New Mexico Poison and Drug Information Center has heard of nearly 40 people so far this year concerned after they drank energy drinks. About half were age 19 or younger including five children under the age of six.
"There is just no role for caffeine in a child's diet," says Dr. Steven Seifert, medical director at the New Mexico Poison Center.
Seifert says people really shouldn't start drinking caffeine until their early 20s once their brain is fully developed.
He says the drinks can increase your heart rate and blood pressure, and frequent users can experience withdrawals.
And Seifert says the labels can be misleading.
"They can list the caffeine that is added to the product, but it may also be present in the form of other additives," Seifert says. "So, it can be difficult even for toxicologist to know how much caffeine you're actually getting."
And, of course, anyone with special health-related issues is more vulnerable to the effects.
Mesa says she doesn't drink energy drinks often, but her hospital visit wasn't enough to make her stop altogether.
"I drink them basically because they taste really good," Mesa says. "They give me a minimal amount of energy, but sometimes they help with that little bit that I need."
The Poison Center medical director says he has not gotten a report of any deaths or life-threatening effects caused by energy drinks here in New Mexico.
Despite a pending lawsuit against Monster, the energy drink company says it does not believe its products caused any deaths.
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