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FEM: Revista de la Fundación Educación Médica

On-line version ISSN 2014-9840Print version ISSN 2014-9832


PINTOR-HOLGUIN, Emilio et al. Knowledge of energy drinks composition and side effects in medical students: a cross-sectional study. FEM (Ed. impresa) [online]. 2020, vol.23, n.5, pp.281-285.  Epub Nov 23, 2020. ISSN 2014-9840.


The consumption of energy drinks, drinks with a high caffeine content, has increased exponentially in the last decade. Several studies have been carried out especially in the adolescent population, but there are not many studies in medical students.

Subjects and methods.

Observational and cross-sectional study where all students of 1st and 2nd year of Medicine at Universidad Europea de Madrid were included in the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 academic years. A questionnaire was done with 20 items: 7 questions about sociodemographic and lifestyle aspects and 13 questions about knowledge and consumption habits of energy drinks. Questionnaire fill in was voluntary, anonymous and self-administered. A descriptive statistic analysis was performed and squared chi test or Fisher's exact test was used for the comparison of qualitative variables.


353 students (80%) filled in the questionnaire. 115 of them (32.6%) indicated that they consumed at least one can per month (consumers). 79% knew at least one components of these drinks: 67.1% said they contained taurine, 51.9% caffeine and 31.2% sugars. Best known side effects were tachycardia/palpitations, insomnia, nervousness and irritability and increased diuresis.


Most of 1st and 2nd year medical students knows that energy drinks contain taurine but only half of them knows they contain caffeine. Best known side effects are: palpitations/tachycardia and difficulty sleeping.

Keywords : Caffeine; Energy drinks; Knowledge; Side effects; Taurine; University students.

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