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Nature versus intensity of intoxication: Co-ingestion of alcohol and energy drinks and the effect on objective and subjective intoxication


Forward, J and Akhurst, J and Bruno, R and Leong, X and VanderNiet, A and Bromfield, H and Erny, J and Bellamy, T and Peacock, A, Nature versus intensity of intoxication: Co-ingestion of alcohol and energy drinks and the effect on objective and subjective intoxication, Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 180 pp. 292-303. ISSN 0376-8716 (2017) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2017 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2017.08.013


Background: We report a series of studies examining the effect of alcohol mixed with energy drinks (AmEDs) versus alcohol on objective intoxication (breath alcohol concentration; BrAC), intensity, and nature of intoxication. We also aimed to disentangle the role of energy drink (ED) ingredients in any effects.

Method: Three within-subject double-blind placebo-controlled studies measured BrAC, subjective intoxication and impairment (‘intensity of intoxication’), stimulation and sedation (‘nature of intoxication’) following administration of ED, Cola, Caffeine + Sugar, and Placebo with alcohol (Study 1, n = 18); ED, Caffeine-only, Sugar-only and Placebo with alcohol (Study 2, n = 20); and ED and Placebo with alcohol (Study 3, n = 27).

Results: Significant moderate-to-large magnitude BrAC decrements and delayed time to peak BrAC were observed after ED administration versus Placebo. However, no meaningful BrAC differences between ED and other active conditions were observed in Study 1 and 2. After BrAC adjustment, moderate-to-large magnitude reductions in intoxication and impairment ratings were observed after ED versus Placebo on the ascending limb in all studies and at peak in Study 2 and 3. No meaningful differences were observed in intoxication and impairment ratings between ED and Caffeine + Sugar and Cola conditions (Study 1); ratings were lower after ED versus Sugar-only (Study 2). Stimulation and sedation ratings did not differ between ED and Placebo.

Conclusion: Reductions in objective intoxication and perceived intensity of intoxication, but not nature of intoxication, were observed after AmED consumption. However, effects may be common to alcohol mixers containing sugars (objective intoxication) and caffeine (intensity of intoxication) and specific to a laboratory setting.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:alcohol, energy drinks, subjective intoxication, objective intoxication, caffeine, stimulation, blood alcohol concentration
Research Division:Psychology
Research Group:Biological psychology
Research Field:Behavioural neuroscience
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in psychology
UTAS Author:Forward, J (Miss Jess Forward)
UTAS Author:Akhurst, J (Ms Jane Akhurst)
UTAS Author:Bruno, R (Associate Professor Raimondo Bruno)
UTAS Author:Leong, X (Ms Xiao Leong)
UTAS Author:VanderNiet, A (Ms Amelia Vanderniet)
UTAS Author:Bromfield, H (Ms Holly Bromfield)
UTAS Author:Erny, J (Miss Jacqueline Erny)
UTAS Author:Bellamy, T (Ms Tessa Bellamy)
UTAS Author:Peacock, A (Miss Amy Peacock)
ID Code:121369
Year Published:2017
Web of Science® Times Cited:7
Deposited By:Psychology
Deposited On:2017-09-26
Last Modified:2021-04-07

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