Prescription Drugs and Energy Drinks

Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC Special Projects Coordinator at Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope

Energy drinks of all varieties have increased in popularity, particularly among youth and teenagers. Packed with a punch of energy-inducing ingredients, energy drinks might seem like the perfect solution for getting through the day, keeping up with a busy schedule, or working through the many demands that a person may be confronted with on a daily basis.

However, energy drinks can pose a potential problem for many individuals, especially those who may be already consuming prescription medications. Because energy drinks often contain a mix of powerful substances, including caffeine, herbs, and other stimulating ingredients, the mix of these drinks with other drugs can prove dangerous, even fatal.

Some individuals may intentionally use energy drinks with drugs to heighten the effect of a particular drug. A recent federal report found a troubling increasing in emergency visits related to energy drinks, with approximately 44 percent of patients experiencing adverse effects from the mixture of energy drinks and consumption of alcohol or drugs [1].

Stimulants in Energy Drinks

One of the common issues concerning energy drinks includes the amount of caffeine and stimulants contained in one can of these substances. Many energy drinks come in much larger cans, which are often consumed in one setting.

Popular energy drinks, like Monster or Rockstar, can contain up to 2-3 servings of caffeine alone, not to mention the many other stimulants that are also involved, including taurine and guarana extract.

Excess of these substances can induce many physical complications including:

  • Gastrointestinal distress
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Indigestion
  • High blood pressure
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Dehydration
  • Sleep and appetite disturbances

energy drinkWhen mixing energy drinks with prescription medication use, these symptoms can be rapidly intensified and pose a dangerous scenario for the person who is consuming them.

If you regularly consume energy drinks or even periodically reach for these substances, do so with careful caution, particularly if you regularly take prescription medications. Ask you doctor about potential interactions between prescription drugs you may already be consuming and substances that are found in energy drinks.

Community Discussion- Share your thoughts here!

What do you think appeals to individuals about mixing energy drinks with prescription medications? What might be some effective preventative measures to help decrease this dangerous trend?


  1. Drug Abuse Warning Network, “Emergency Department Visits Involving Energy Drinks”,

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addictions and co-occurring disorders.  These are not necessarily the views of Addiction Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.  We at Addiction Hope understand that addictions result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors.  If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.  

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on October 29th, 2015
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