Combining energy drinks and alcohol - a recipe for trouble?

Aust Fam Physician. 2011 Mar;40(3):104-7.


Background: Combining energy drinks (such as 'Red Bull(®)') with alcohol is becoming increasingly popular, particularly among young people. However, as yet, limited research has been conducted examining the harms associated with this form of drinking.

Objective: To review current evidence associated with combining energy drinks with alcohol and provide recommendations for addressing this issue within primary care.

Discussion: Combining alcohol with energy drinks can mask the signs of alcohol intoxication, resulting in greater levels of alcohol intake, dehydration, more severe and prolonged hangovers, and alcohol poisoning. It may also increase engagement in risky behaviours (such as drink driving) as well as alcohol related violence. General practitioners should be aware of the harms associated with this pattern of drinking, and provide screening and relevant harm reduction advice.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects*
  • Alcohol Drinking / trends
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / diagnosis
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / etiology*
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / prevention & control
  • Caffeine / adverse effects
  • Dehydration / etiology*
  • Energy Drinks / adverse effects*
  • Ethanol / poisoning
  • General Practice / methods
  • Heart Rate / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Paullinia / adverse effects
  • Sleep / drug effects


  • Caffeine
  • Ethanol