Skip to main content

Energy Drink Use and Adverse Effects Among Emergency Department Patients

Abstract

Energy drink usage is common and contains caffeine or other stimulants. We evaluated demographics, prevalence, reasons and adverse effects with consuming energy beverages. Cross-sectional study of a convenience sample of patients recruited from two San Diego Emergency Departments from January to December 2009. One-thousand-two-hundred-ninety-eight subjects participated of which 52.6% were male. Ethnicity: Caucasian 48.3%, African American 17%, Hispanic 18%, Other 16.7%. Age ranges: 18–29 years (38.4%), 30–54 years (49.6%) and greater than 55 years (12%). Reasons for use: 57% to “increase energy”, 9.5% for studying/work projects, 2.4% while prolonged driving, improve sports performance 2%, with ethanol 6.3%, “other” reasons 22.1%. Adverse reactions reported by 33.5% (429) patients. Two-hundred-eighty report feeling “shaky/jittery”, insomnia 136, palpitations 150, gastrointestinal upset 82, headache 68, chest pain 39, and seizures in 6. Eighty-five patients reported co-ingestion with illicit “stimulants” including cocaine and methamphetamine. We identified one-third of patients reported at least one adverse effect. Whilst most were not severe, a small number were serious e.g., seizures. In addition, some report purposely ingesting with illicit drugs.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1

References

  1. 1.

    Heckman, M. A., Sherry, K., & Gonzalez de Mejia, E. (2010). Energy drinks: An assessment of their market size, consumer demographics, ingredient profile, functionality, and regulations in the United States. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, 9, 303–317.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Boyle, M., & Castillo, V. D. (2006). Monster on the loose. Fortune, 154, 116–122.

    Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Higgins, J. P., Tuttle, T. D., & Higgins, C. L. (2010). Energy beverages: Content and safety. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 85, 1033–1041.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Clauson, K. A., Shields, K. M., McQueen, C. E., et al. (2008). Safety issues associated with commercially available energy drinks. Journal of the American Pharmacists Association, 48, e55–e63.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm234109.htm. Accessed January 20, 2012.

  6. 6.

    Malinauskas, B. M., Aeby, V. G., Overton, R. F., et al. (2007). A survey of energy drink consumption patterns among college students. Nutrition Journal, 6, 1–7.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Oteri, A., Salvo, F., Caputi, A. P., et al. (2007). Intake of energy drinks in association with alcoholic beverages in cohort students of the school of medicine of the University of Medicine. Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research, 10, 1677–1680.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Iyadurai, S. J. P., & Chung, S. S. (2007). New onset seizures in adults: possible association with consumption of popular energy drinks. Epilepsy Behavior, 10, 504–508.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Babu, K. M., Zuckerman, M. D., Cherkes, J. K., et al. (2011). First-onset seizure after use of 5-hour energy. Pediatric Emergency Care, 27, 539–540.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Terlizzi, R., Rocchi, C., Serra, M., et al. (2008). Reversible postural tachycardia syndrome due to inadvertent overuse of Red Bull. Clinical Atomic Research, 18, 221–222.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    http://www.energyfiend.com/the-15-top-energy-drink-brands.

  12. 12.

    Alford, C., Cox, H., & Wescott, R. (2001). The effects of red bull energy drink on human performance and mood. Amino Acids, 21, 139–150.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Warburton, D. M., Bersellini, E., & Sweeney, E. (2001). An evaluation of a caffeinated taurine drink on mood, memory and information processing in healthy volunteers without caffeine abstinence. Psychopharmacology, 158, 322–328.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Scholey, A. B., & Kennedy, D. O. (2004). Cognitive and physiological effects of an “energy drink”: An evaluation of the whole drink and of glucose, caffeine and herbal flavouring fractions. Psychopharmacology, 176, 320–330.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Reissig, C. J., Strain, E. C., & Griffiths, R. R. (2009). Caffeinated energy drinks—A growing problem. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 99, 1–10.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Berger, A. J., & Alford, K. (2009). Cardiac arrest in a young man following excess consumption of caffeinated “energy drinks”. Medical Journal of Australia, 190, 41–43.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Cannon, M. E., Cooke, C. T., & McCarthy, J. S. (2011). Caffeine-induced cardiac arrhythmia: an unrecognised danger of healthfood products. Medical Journal of Australia, 174, 520–521.

    Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Artin, B., Singh, M., Richeh, C., et al. (2010). Caffeine-related atrial fibrillation. American Journal of Therapeutics, 17, e169–e171.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Kaplan, G. B., Greenblatt, D. J., Ehrenberg, B. L., et al. (1997). Dose dependent pharmacokinetics and psychomotor effects of caffeine in humans. Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 37, 693–703.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Victor, B. S., Lubetsky, M., & Greden, J. F. (1981). Somatic manifestations of caffeinism. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 42, 185–188.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    http://articles.nydailynews.com/2011-02-15/entertainment/28616081_1_energy-drinks-caffeine-report. Accessed January 20, 2012.

  22. 22.

    Arria, A. M., & O’Brien, M. C. (2011). The “high” risk of energy drinks. JAMA, 305, 600–601.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    Weldy, D. L. (2010). Risks of alcoholic energy drinks for youth. The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, 23, 555–558.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    Committee on Nutrition and the Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness. (2011). Sports drinks and energy drinks for children and adolescents: Are they appropriate? Journal of Pediatrics, 127, 1182–1189.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. 25.

    Miller, K. E. (2008). Energy drinks, race, and problem behaviors among college students. Journal of Adolescent Health, 43, 490–497.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  26. 26.

    Velazquez, C. E., Poulos, N. S., & Latimer, L. A., et al. (2011). Associations between energy drink consumption and alcohol use behaviors among college students. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 2011 December 2 [Epub ahead of print].

  27. 27.

    Ferreira, S. E., de Mello, M. T., Pompeia, S., et al. (2006). Effects of energy drink ingestion on alcohol intoxication. Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research, 30, 598–605.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  28. 28.

    Marczinski, C. A., & Fillmore, M. T. (2006). Clubgoers and their trendy cocktails: implications of mixing caffeine into alcohol on information processing and subjective reports of intoxication. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 14, 450.s–458.s.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Sean Patrick Nordt.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Nordt, S.P., Vilke, G.M., Clark, R.F. et al. Energy Drink Use and Adverse Effects Among Emergency Department Patients. J Community Health 37, 976–981 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10900-012-9549-9

Download citation

Keywords

  • Energy drink
  • Energy beverage
  • Sports drink
  • Caffeine
  • Guarana