September 2023

PRIME Energy Drink Reignites Caffeine Concerns

An energy drink developed by social media influencers last year called PRIME is sparking concerns over high caffeine consumption, particularly in kids. The FDA is now reviewing complaints about the product. Here’s what you should know.

Much of the controversy surrounding PRIME has to do with its marketing campaigns geared toward kids, despite having a warning label that it’s not intended for anyone under 18. Just one 12-ounce can contains 200 mg of caffeine – double the amount that is safe for most children and adolescents. In adults, consuming up to 400 mg of caffeine daily isn’t linked to serious safety concerns. This is about the amount of caffeine found in 4 cups of coffee. In kids, daily caffeine intake should be limited to less than 2.5 mg/kg. So the average 12-year-old weighing 41 kg (~90 lbs) shouldn’t consume more than 100 mg of caffeine, or about 1 cup of coffee daily.

It’s unclear what actions the FDA may take against PRIME specifically, but remind parents that kids should generally stay away from energy drinks – not only do they typically contain much more caffeine than is safe, children might be more likely to consume more than one serving at a time. Furthermore, only the amount of ADDED caffeine must be stated on product labels. The amount of caffeine from caffeine-containing natural ingredients such as coffee or green tea does not need to be provided. This can make it difficult to determine the total amount of caffeine in a given product. Lastly, remind parents to look at product labels closely when adding them to their cart. Some people have reported buying the PRIME energy drink when they intended to purchase the PRIME Hydration drink, which is caffeine free.

Check out our caffeine monograph for more details on safety concerns and adverse effects.

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