• 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


Clauson KA, Shields KM, McQueen CE, Persad N. Safety issues

associated with commercially available energy drinks. Pharmacy

Today 2008;14(5):52–64.

Bigard AX. Risks of energy drinks in youths. Arch Pediatr


Warburton DM. The effects of caffeine on cognition and mood

without caffeine abstinence. Psychopharmacology


Koelega HS. Effects of caffeine, nicotine and alcohol on

vigilance performance. In: Snel J, Lorist M (eds) Nicotine,

caffeine and social drinking. OPA, Amsterdam, 1998.

Smith AP. Behavioral effects of caffeine. In: Parliament TH, Ho

C-T, Schieberle P (eds) Caffeinated beverages: health benefits,

physiological effects, and chemistry. Oxford University, New

York. 2000

Smith A. Effects of caffeine on human behavior. Food Chem

Toxicol 2002;40:1243–55.

Smit HJ, Rogers PJ. Effects of low doses of caffeine on cognitive

performance, mood and thirst in low and higher caffeine

consumers. Psychopharmacology 2000;152:167–73.

Riesenhuber A, Boehm M, Posch M, Aufricht C. Diuretic

potential of energy drinks. Amino Acids 2006;31:81–3.

Lee SJ, Hudson R, Kilpatrick K, Graham TE, Ross R. Caffeine

ingestion is associated with reductions in glucose uptake

independent of obesity and Type 2 diabetes before and after

exercise training. Diabetes Care 2005;28:566–72.

Bichler A, Swenson A, Harris MA. A combination of caffeine

and taurine has not effect on short term memory but induces

changes in heart rate and mean arterial blood pressure. Amino

Acids 2006;31:471–6.

Scher AI, Stewart WF, Lipton RB. Caffeine as a risk factor for

chronic daily headache: A population-based study. Neurology


J Ayub Med Coll Abbottabad 2011;23(3) 9

Carrillo JA, Benitez J. Clinically significant pharmacokinetic

interactions between dietary caffeine and medications. Clin

Pharmacokinet 2000;39:127–53.

Winston AP, Hardwick E, Jaberi N. Neuropsychiatric effects of

caffeine. Adv Psych Treat 2005;11:432–9.

Sünram-Lea SI, Foster JK, Durlach P, Perez C. Investig-ation

into the significance of task difficulty and divided allocation of

resources on the glucose memory facilitation effect.

Psychopharmacology 2002;160:387–97.

Owens DS, Benton D. The impact of raising blood glucose on

reaction times. Neuropsychobiology 1994;30:106–13.

Keul J, Huber G, Lehman M, Berg A, Jakob EF. Einfluss von

Dex-trose auf Fahrleistung, Konzentrationsfaehigkeit, Kreislauf

und Stoff-wechsel in Kraftfahrzeug-simulator. Akt Ernahr Mad


Scholey AB, Harper S, Kennedy DO. Cognitive demand and

blood glucose. Physiol Behav 2001;73:585–92.

Scholey AB, Kennedy DO. Cognitive and physiological effects

of an “energy drink”: an evaluation of the whole drink and of

glucose, caffeine and herbal flavouring fractions.

Psychopharmacology 2004;176: 320–30.

Abourashed EA, Mossa JS. HPTLC determination of caffeine in

stimulant herbal products and power drinks. J Pharm Biomed

Anal 2004;36(3):617–20.

Miller KE. Energy drinks, race, and problem behaviors among

college students. J Adolesc Health 2008;43(5):490–7.

Ballistreri MC, Corradi-Webster CM. Consumption of energy

drinks among physical education students. Rev Latino-am

Enfermagem 2008;16(special):558–64.

Malinauskas BM, Aeby VG, Overton RF, Carpenter-Aeby T,

Barber-Heidal K. A survey of energy drink consumption patterns

among college students. Nutr J 2007;6:35.

Attila S, Çakir B. Energy-drink consumption in college students

and associated factors. Nutrition 2011;27(3):316–22.

Pennsylvania Medical Society Energy Drinks Busting Your

Health for the Buzz.

Alford C, Cox H, Wescott R. The effects of red bull energy drink

on human performance and mood. Amino Acids 2001;21(2):139–

Forbes SC, Candow DG, Little JP, Magnus C, Chilibeck PD.

Effect of Red Bull energy drink on repeated Wingate cycle

performance and bench-press muscle endurance. Int J Sport Nutr

Exerc Metab 2007;17(5):433–44.

Horne JA, Reyner LA. Beneficial effects of an energy drink

given to sleepy drivers. Amino acids 2001;20(1):83–9.

Lockwood CM, Moon JR, Smith AE, Tobkin SE, Kendall KL,

Graef JL, et al. Low-calorie energy drink improves physiological

response to exercise in previously sedentary men: a placebocontrolled efficacy and safety study. J Strength Cond Res


Iyadurai SJ, Chung SS. New-onset seizures in adults: possible

association with consumption of popular energy drinks. Epilepsy

Behav 2007;10(3):504–8.

O'Brien MC, McCoy TP, Rhodes SD, Wagoner A, Wolfson M.

Caffeinated cocktails: energy drink consumption, high-risk

drinking, and alcohol-related consequences among college

students. Acad Emerg Med 2008;15(5):453–60.

Ragsdale FR, Gronli TD, Batool N, Haight N, Mehaffey,

McMahon EC, et al. Effect of Red Bull energy drink on

cardiovascular and renal function. Amino Acids


Steinke L, Lanfear DE, Dhanapal V, Kalus JS. Effect of “energy

drink” consumption on hemodynamic and electrocardiographic

parameters in healthy young adults. Ann Pharmacother


Triebel S, Sproll C, Reusch H, Godelmann R, Lachenmeier DW.

Rapid analysis of taurine in energy drinks using amino acid

analyzer and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy as

basis for toxicological evaluation. Amino Acids 2007;33:451–7.

Sirdah MM, El-Agouza IM, Abu Shahla AN. Possible

ameliorative effect of taurine in the treatment of iron-deficiency

anaemia in female university students of Gaza, Palestine. Eur J

Haematol 2002;69:236-42.

Brons C, Spohr C, Storgaard H, Dyerberg J, Vaag A. Effect of

taurine treatment on insulin secretion and action, and on serum

lipid levels in overweight men with a genetic predisposition for

type II diabetes mellitus. Eur J Clin Nutr 2004;58:1239–47.

Zhang M, Bi LF, Fang JH, Su XL, Da GL, Kuwamori T, et al.

Beneficial effects of taurine on serum lipids in overweight or

obese non-diabetic subjects. Amino Acids 2004;26:267–71.