08 February 2018
The purpose of this systematic review and meta‐analysis was to critically review the (1) prevalence of alcohol mixed with energy drink (AMED) consumption, (2) motives for AMED consumption, (3) correlates of AMED consumption, and (4) whether AMED consumption has an impact on (a) alcohol consumption, (b) subjective intoxication, and (c) risk‐taking behavior.
Overall a minority of the population consumes AMED, typically infrequently. Motives for AMED consumption are predominantly hedonistic and social. Meta‐analyses revealed that AMED consumers drink significantly more alcohol than alcohol‐only (AO) consumers. Within‐subject comparisons restricted to AMED consumers revealed that alcohol consumption does not significantly differ between typical AMED and AO occasions. On past month heaviest drinking occasions, AMED users consume significantly less alcohol on AMED occasions when compared to AO occasions. AMED consumers experience significantly fewer negative consequences and risk‐taking behavior on AMED occasions compared with AO occasions. Meta‐analyses of subjective intoxication studies suggest that AMED consumption does not differentially affect subjective intoxication when compared to AO consumption. In conclusion, when compared to AO consumption, mixing alcohol with energy drink does not affect subjective intoxication and seems unlikely to increase total alcohol consumption, associated risk‐taking behavior, nor other negative alcohol‐related consequences. Further research may be necessary to fully reveal the effects of AMED.