Faster self-paced rate of drinking for alcohol mixed with energy drinks versus alcohol alone

Cecile A. Marczinski, Mark T. Fillmore, Sarah F. Maloney, Amy L. Stamates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The consumption of alcohol mixed with energy drinks (AmED) has been associated with higher rates of binge drinking and impaired driving when compared with alcohol alone. However, it remains unclear why the risks of use of AmED are heightened compared with alcohol alone even when the doses of alcohol consumed are similar. Therefore, the purpose of this laboratory study was to investigate if the rate of self-paced beverage consumption was faster for a dose of AmED versus alcohol alone using a double-blind, within-subjects, placebo-controlled study design. Participants (n = 16) of equal gender who were social drinkers attended 4 separate test sessions that involved consumption of alcohol (1.97 ml/kg vodka) and energy drinks, alone and in combination. On each test day, the dose assigned was divided into 10 cups. Participants were informed that they would have a 2-h period to consume the 10 drinks. After the self-paced drinking period, participants completed a cued go/no-go reaction time (RT) task and subjective ratings of stimulation and sedation. The results indicated that participants consumed the AmED dose significantly faster (by â-16 min) than the alcohol dose. For the performance task, participants' mean RTs were slower in the alcohol conditions and faster in the energy-drink conditions. In conclusion, alcohol consumers should be made aware that rapid drinking might occur for AmED beverages, thus heightening alcohol-related safety risks. The fast rate of drinking may be related to the generalized speeding of responses after energy-drink consumption.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)154-161
Number of pages8
JournalPsychology of Addictive Behaviors
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The project described was supported by National Institutes of Health (NIH) Grants AA019795 and GM103436 awarded to C.A.M. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily reflect the official views of NIH. The ideas and data appearing in this article were presented at the 2016 Meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism in New Orleans, LA. An abstract from this poster presentation was published in a journal supplement associated with this meeting (Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 40S1, 55A).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 American Psychological Association.


  • alcohol
  • drinking rate stimulation
  • energy drinks
  • reaction time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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