Hundreds of different energy drinks are available and are marketed to adolescents, carrying the potential for substance abuse that involves caffeine and alcohol. Clinicians must be educated to deal with their patients’ use of these products.

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Energy drinks are caffeinated beverages advertised as boosting the immune system, enhancing performance, and creating a “buzz” or a “high.” Some of these drinks contain alcohol, and sometimes consumers mix them with alcoholic beverages. This article reviews current information about the content, benefits, and risks of the use of these energy drinks by adolescents.

Adolescents are no strangers to energy drinks, and over the past 2 years, media reports have heightened the awareness of doctors, parents, and lawmakers. In 2010, nine university students in Washington State were hospitalized and one almost died; their illness was attributed to a fruit-flavored, caffeinated alcoholic drink. A month earlier,...

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