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Drinks that Mix Alcohol and Caffeine Linked to Hospitalizations

Washington, DC: Beverages that contain caffeine and alcohol have been associated with a recent rash of hospitalizations among college students.

Four Loko drinks, which are fruit flavoured malt beverages with an alcohol content of 12 percent and a high amount of caffeine are dangerous, according to doctors, because the caffeine masks the effect of the alcohol so people can't tell how intoxicated they really are.

"This is one of the most dangerous new alcohol concoctions I have ever seen," Dr. Michael Reihart, an emergency room doctor at Lancaster General Hospital in Lancaster, PA, said in an interview with the New York Times. Reihard also said he had treated more than a dozen teenagers and adults over the last three months who had been brought there after drinking Four Loko. "It's a recipe for disaster because your body's natural defense is to get sleepy and not want to drink, but in this case you're tricking the body with the caffeine."

Another, similar drink is also under scrutiny. Joose, which comes in the same 23.5 ounce can as Four Loko, contains 9.9 percent alcohol but slightly less caffeine, according to the manufacters, 54 milligrams compared with 135 milligrams in Four Loko.

Joose is made by United Brands and Four Loko by Phusion Projects. Both beverages are sold in 47 states.

The FDA is currently investigating whether or not the drinks are safe. The FDA has never approved adding caffeine to alcohol.

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Published on Oct-27-10


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