A mother died after her "excessive consumption" of caffeine from drinking litres of Pepsi Max reacted with prescription drugs she was taking, an inquest heard .
Victoria Lane would drink up to four two-litre bottles of the fizzy drink every day in an effort to help her combat a dry mouth, which she would get as a result of taking prescription drugs.
At an inquest into her death, the coroner was told how the 38-year-old had struggled with depression and paranoia for many years and turned to alcohol to cope - at times downing a litre of vodka a day.
The inquest heard how in recent years she had tried to turn her life around, despite still drinking heavily and using the cola as a mixer.
A post mortem found she died as a result of her "excessive consumption" of caffeine from the fizzy pop combined with her prescription drugs.
The hearing in Stoke-on-Trent was told the mother-of-one's body was discovered by her teenage son Rhys on April 19 this year.
He had returned to their home in Clayton, Stoke-on-Trent from a night out to find his mum sleeping. but when he went into her the next morning he found she had stopped breathing.
Hearing: Details of the death were heard at North Staffordshire coroner chambers
He told the hearing: "She was in the same position as I saw her the night before.
"I tried to wake her up but her jaw was completely locked. That's when I started to worry. I called 999 .
"When mum was drinking heavily she could get through a one-litre bottle of vodka a day and four two-litre bottles of Pepsi Max."
Miss Lane's mum, Rosalind Lane, described how her daughter "changed" following a serious car crash when she was 16 years old.
She said: "She recovered physically from it but I noticed a change in her personality after that. She became very black.
"She used to be bright and outgoing but she became reserved and a bit of a rebel at college."
Miss Lane was prescribed drugs to help, including fluoxetine, for anxiety and paranoia in the years before her death. She had also started to drink heavily.
Rosalind added: "I knew she drank vodka, but I didn't know exactly how much. She did drink a lot of Pepsi Max though.
"One of the side-effects of the drugs was that she had a very dry mouth and Pepsi Max was what she liked to drink.
"I did question her about it because of the high amount of caffeine, but she told me it was fine."
The pathologist recorded that Miss Lane died as a result of excessive ingestion of fluoxetine exacerbated by excess use of caffeine.
North Staffordshire's assistant coroner Sarah Murphy recorded a conclusion of accidental death.
Drink: Tragic Victoria could consume up to eight litres of the drink every day
She said: "It is absolutely tragic that such a young lady who had overcome significant adversity and had managed to sort herself and who had so much life and so much to look forward to, died prematurely."
Her devastated son Reese, 19, yesterday paid tribute to his mum.
Reese said: "She was amazing. Mental health needs to be taken more seriously.
"We're raising money in her memory so we can help other people who are suffering with mental health issues."
The family have so far raised £652 for the mental health charity Mind UK on JustGiving.
A neighbour today described the tragic mum as "warm and funny" but with "hidden demons."
She said: "From what I knew of Vicky, she was lovely. She could be the warmest, funniest
person you could ever hope to meet.
"She did have hidden demons though which came from her car accident years before. I think drinking became a way of coping for her and it's tragic she died so young.
"She was never any bother to anyone in the street. I don't think anyone would ever think that drinking too much fizzy pop could kill you.
"More research definitely needs to be done to stop this ever happening to anyone again."