Caffeine overdose kills teen after too much soda, coffee, energy drink

Excessive caffeine led to the death of a South Carolina teenager last month, a state coroner reported on Monday.

Richland County Coroner Gary Watts ruled out the possibility of a pre-existing heart condition and said a caffeine overdose caused 16-year-old Davis Allen Cripe to collapse at school on April 26, the Associated Press reported.

The teenager drank a large Mountain Dew, a McDonald’s latte and an energy drink two hours before he began experiencing arrhythmia, Watts said.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, caffeine in doses up to 400 milligrams (about five cups of coffee) is generally safe.

A 12-ounce bottle of Mountain Dew contains 54 milligrams of caffeine.

While McDonald’s doesn’t currently report the amount of caffeine in their coffee, Caffeine Informer estimated a large, 21-24-ounce McDonald’s latte contains 178 milligrams of caffeine.

Watts did not specify which energy drinks were consumed, but in general, a 24-ounce energy drink can contain as much as 500 milligrams of caffeine.

study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association last month found energy drink consumers could be at higher risk of abnormal heart beats and dangerous changes in blood pressure.

"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," Watts said in a news conference.

Cripe’s father said he hopes his son’s death will save other lives by showing the dangers of excessive caffeine consumption, according to the AP.