A TEENAGER was taken to hospital with heart problems after he drank eight cans of Red Bull.

Health experts have reminded people of the risks associated with drinking large amounts of caffeine after the 15 year old suffered heart palpitations.

Ambulances were called to Hummersknott Comprehensive School, Darlington, after the incident on Thursday afternoon.

They took the boy to the accident and emergency department at Darlington Memorial Hospital, and he was transferred to a ward.

Each 250ml can of Red Bull contains 80mg of caffeine -nearly twice that of a can of Coca-Cola.

The drink is banned in Norway, France, Uruguay and Iceland because of its high caffeine content. It also contains taurine, a chemical originally found in ox bile, which is said to alleviate muscle fatigue.

Judy More, from the British Dietetic Association, said: "Drinking this amount of caffeine takes it out of the realm of a fizzy drink and into that of a pharmaceutical.

"It depends how big the boy was, but that could be cause for concern if he was quite small, as that would be a lot of caffeine for a small, slight 15-year-old.

"Parents need to be careful and caution their children about drinking too much of this."

A spokesman for the Food Standards Agency said there was no obligation for manufacturers of energy drinks to put warnings on the side of their cans, but they are required to display the amount of caffeine.

A spokeswoman for Red Bull said: "Red Bull energy drink is a functional product which has been developed specifically for periods of mental or physical exertion. One can of Red Bull energy drink contains the same amount of caffeine as a weak cup of filter coffee.

"We have always recommended drinking one to two cans of Red Bull to have the optimum effect on performance in times of need."

No one from the school was available for comment.