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MDLinxWoman Dies Hours After Consuming Panera’s “Charged Lemonade”: Examining the Hazards of This Sweet Beverage for Certain Patients

The Hidden Dangers of Caffeinated Beverages: A Case Study of Panera’s “Charged Lemonade”

A recent incident involving a 21-year-old woman’s death after consuming Panera’s “Charged Lemonade” has raised concerns about the potential health risks associated with highly caffeinated beverages. The woman, diagnosed with long QT syndrome type 1, a heart condition, went into cardiac arrest hours after consuming the drink.

Key Points

  • The woman’s family is suing Panera Bread for allegedly improperly marketing their caffeinated lemonade drink.
  • Doctors advise against energy drink consumption for children, teens, and those with heart conditions.
  • The beverage was allegedly dangerous and ‘defective in design.’ It had ‘no warning of any potentially dangerous effects, even the life-threatening effects on blood pressure, heart rate, and/or brain function.’
  • Caffeine acts as a stimulant on the central nervous system, which can impact various organ systems and cause increases in heart rate, blood pressure, speech rate, motor activity, attentiveness, gastric secretion, diuresis, and temperature.
  • The woman was diagnosed with long QT syndrome type 1, a condition that impacts the potassium ion channels in the heart, disrupting the heart’s electrical activity and increasing the risk of an abnormal heartbeat.

“High doses of caffeine have a direct effect on the rhythm of the heart. If we have an underlying problem with the muscle or the electricity of the heart, this can produce problems like a heart attack or an arrhythmia.”
— Ilan Shapiro, MD, a pediatrician and Chief Health Correspondent and Medical Affairs Officer at AltaMed Health Services in Los Angeles, CA

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