• Ahmed A Alsunni
  • Ahmed Badar


Background: There are safety concerns about energy drinks alongside marketing claims ofphysiological and behavioural benefits. There is no scientific data about usage of energy drinks inSaudi Arabia. This study determined consumption patterns of energy drinks as well as perceivedbenefits and side effects amongst students at a Saudi university. Methods: This study was carriedout in students of University of Dammam from October to December 2010. A questionnaire aboutenergy drink use, reasons for use, benefits and side effects experienced was distributed amongstthe university students. Frequencies of responses and differences between male and femalestudents were analysed. Results: A total of 412 students (282 males and 130 females) responded,out of whom 54.60% males and 26.15% female students were energy drink users. Mean age atfirst use was significantly (p<0.05) less in female students. Inspirations for first time use werefriends (both genders) and curiosity (males mainly). Most students did not have a fixed frequencyof use. The commonest reasons for use were company of friends, to keep awake, for more energyand for better performance in driving, sports or exams. Amongst many the commonest (p<0.05)benefit reported was ability to stay awake longer. The students reported a number of adverseeffects. Increased urination and insomnia were the commonest in males and females respectively.Only 36.70% males and 14.28% females never experienced an adverse effect. Conclusion: Asignificant proportion of students at university of Dammam use energy drinks, they have reporteda number of effects (perceived as benefits) along with a variety of adverse effects.Keywords: Energy Drinks, Students, Saudi Arabia, Benefits, Adverse effects


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