The Effects of Alcohol Mixed With Energy Drinks (AmED) on Traffic Behaviors Among Brazilian College Students: A National Survey

a Department of Preventive Medicine, School of Medicine , University of Sao Paulo (FMUSP) , Sao Paulo , Brazil.
Traffic Injury Prevention (Impact Factor: 1.41). 08/2013; 14(7):671-9. DOI: 10.1080/15389588.2012.755261
Source: PubMed


Drinking alcohol mixed with energy drinks (AmED) may be contributing to hazardous drinking practices and risk-taking behaviors among college students. In this regard, this study aimed to assess the frequency of AmED consumption in a national sample of Brazilian college students and to estimate the risk that energy drinks pose on drinking and traffic behaviors.

A sample of 12,711 college students from across the country was asked to complete a research questionnaire on the use of drugs and other behaviors. Students who reported drinking in the previous 12 months (N = 8672) were divided into 2 groups: (a) those who reported drinking only alcohol (N = 4192) and (b) those who reported drinking AmED (N = 1119). The college students who reported the use of at least one illicit drug were excluded from data analysis. Descriptive and inferential analyses were subsequently carried out using the R library survey software 2.15.0. The null hypothesis was rejected at the level of P < .05.

AmED users are more likely to be hazardous drinkers. Being male, single, and involved with high-risk drinking behaviors are associated to AmED. After adjusting for demographic and drinking variables, the odds of being involved in high-risk traffic behaviors--for example, driving at high speed (odds ratio [OR] = 2.6; P < .001) and driving after binge drinking (OR = 2.8; P < .001)--were higher among AmED users than alcohol only users (AUs).

The current findings are consistent with the results of previous studies. Drinking AmED may make college students more vulnerable to the occurrence of risky drinking and traffic behaviors. Educational campaigns targeted to young people should be developed warning them about the potential risks of mixing alcohol with energy drinks.

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    • "This practice includes drinking cocktails of alcohol combined with energy drinks (e.g., Red Bull and vodka, or premixed caffeinated alcoholic beverages) and drinking alcohol and energy drink separately but within the same drinking occasion (Howland and Rohsenow , 2013). Energy drink consumption has been associated with greater alcohol consumption (Peacock et al., 2013; Price et al., 2010), increased risk of alcohol dependence (Arria et al., 2011), and increased problems from drinking, including drink-driving and injury (Berger et al., 2013; Brache and Stockwell, 2011; Eckschmidt et al., 2013; O'Brien et al., 2008; Snipes and Benotsch, 2013). A recent study by Marczinski and colleagues (2013) found that combining energy drinks with alcohol increases people's desire to drink more alcohol, suggesting that energy drinks could increase the risk of drinking to intoxication. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Recently, Marczinski and colleagues (2013) showed that energy drinks combined with alcohol augment a person's desire to drink more alcohol relative to drinking alcohol alone. The current study replicates the findings of Marczinski and colleagues (2013) using a robust measure of alcohol craving.Methods Seventy-five participants aged 18 to 30 years were assigned to an alcohol only or alcohol+energy drink condition in a double-blind randomized pre- versus posttest experiment. Participants received a cocktail containing either 60 ml of vodka and a Red Bull® Silver Edition energy drink (alcohol+energy drink condition) or 60 ml of vodka with a soda water vehicle (alcohol-only condition); both cocktails contained 200 ml of fruit drink. The primary outcome measure was the Alcohol Urge Questionnaire taken at pretest and at 20 minutes (posttest). Other measures taken at posttest were the Biphasic Alcohol Effects Questionnaire, the Drug Effects Questionnaire, and breath alcohol concentration (BAC).ResultsThe alcohol+energy drink condition showed a greater pre- versus posttest increase in urge to drink alcohol compared with the alcohol-only condition (B = 3.24, p = 0.021, d = 0.44). Participants in the alcohol+energy drink condition had significantly higher ratings on liking the cocktail and wanting to drink more of the cocktail, and lower BACs, than the alcohol-only condition. When examined at specific BACs, the effect of the energy drink on the pre- to posttest increase in urge to drink was largest and only significant at BACs of 0.04–0.05 (cf. < 0.04 g/dl).There were no significant differences in stimulation, sedation, feeling the effects of the cocktail, or feeling high.Conclusions Combining energy drinks with alcohol increased the urge to drink alcohol relative to drinking alcohol alone. More research is needed to understand what factors mediate this effect and whether it increases subsequent alcohol consumption.
    Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research 07/2014; 38(8). DOI:10.1111/acer.12498 · 3.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose of review: In the field of caffeine research, interest in and concern for energy drink consumption have grown. Most caffeine-related research studies published in 2013 focused on energy drink consumption. This article reviews this literature. Recent findings: Prevalence of energy drink consumption varies by measure and age group. Lack of a standardized definition of use inhibits comparison across studies. Studies reviewed show that energy drink consumption is generally low, but the minority who drink the most may be consuming at unsafe levels. Energy drinks are popular among adolescents and young adults. They boost energy and alertness in some conditions, but may have adverse hemodynamic effects. Harmful consequences, including involvement in risky driving, riding with an intoxicated driver and being taken advantage of sexually, were reported significantly more often by adolescents and young adults who combined energy drinks with alcohol compared with those who did not. Summary: This review of recent literature focused on prevalence, motivation, and consequences of energy drink use. Clear findings emerged only on the dangers of mixing alcohol and energy drinks. The lack of a standardized measure made the comparison across studies difficult. Future research should extend and clarify these findings using standardized measures of use.
    Current opinion in psychiatry 05/2014; 27(4). DOI:10.1097/YCO.0000000000000070 · 3.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The energy drinks (ED) are caffeinated beverages that are popular among teenagers and young adults. They are aggressively marketed as providing alertness, energy and sex prowess. The EDs in addition to caffeine contain several plant stimulants and simple sugars, which increase their caloric content. The caffeine concentration in these drinks is high and their overconsumption could lead to insomnia, agitation, tremors and cardiovascular complications including sudden death. Alcohol is often mixed with EDs (AMEDs) in the wrong perception that the caffeine in the EDs will prevent the drowsiness and sleepiness from alcohol and allow the person to consume more alcohol. This false perception, could lead to alcohol intoxication and the taking of risky decisions, like driving under the influence of alcohol and the risk of serious physical harm to themselves and others. To prevent the problem of consumption of EDs and AMEDs, the caring physician could help by advising the parents and his young patients about the serious health risks from the consumption of these drinks. In order to grasp the extend of the problem of ED and AMED consumption, we did a Medline search of the English language literature from January 2010 to December 2013, using the terms EDs and alcohol-mixed EDs. All the findings from the recent studies regarding the cardiovascular complications from the consumption of EDs and AMEDs together with collateral literature will be discussed in this review.Journal of Human Hypertension advance online publication, 19 June 2014; doi:10.1038/jhh.2014.47.
    Journal of Human Hypertension 06/2014; 29(2). DOI:10.1038/jhh.2014.47 · 2.70 Impact Factor
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