Energy Drink-Linked ER Visits Up From 2007 to 2011

Most ER visits among those aged 18 to 39, but 279 percent increase seen for adults over 40 years

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 16 (HealthDay News) -- From 2007 to 2011, the number of emergency department visits involving energy drinks more than doubled, according to a study published online Jan. 10 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Researchers from SAMHSA, located in Rockville, Md., used data from the Drug Abuse Warning Network surveillance system to examine trends in emergency department visits involving energy drinks from 2007 to 2011.

The researchers found that, from 2007 to 2011, the number of emergency department visits involving energy drinks more than doubled, from 10,068 to 20,783. More emergency department visits involved males than females, but visits for both male and female patients doubled from 2007 to 2011. Each year during the study period, the most emergency department visits were seen among those in the 18- to 39-year age category. From 2007 to 2011, the largest increase in the number of visits (279 percent) was seen among individuals aged 40 years or older (from 1,382 to 5,233). The majority of energy drink-related emergency department visits in 2011 involved energy drinks only, but 42 percent involved other drugs.

"Consumption of energy drinks is a rising public health problem because medical and behavioral consequences can result from excessive caffeine intake," the authors write. "A growing body of scientific evidence documents harmful health effects of energy drinks, particularly for children, adolescents, and young adults."

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