Think twice before letting your young clients or your own children swig energy drinks.

New research from pediatric researchers at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine shows that these beverages may pose a risk for “serious adverse health effects in some children, especially those with diabetes, seizures, cardiac abnormalities, or mood and behavior disorders.”

In the research review, published online February 14 in Pediatrics, the authors concluded that “energy drinks have no therapeutic benefit to children, and both the known and unknown properties of the ingredients, combined with reports of toxicity, may put some children at risk for adverse health events.”

Typically, energy drinks contain high levels of various stimulants (e.g., caffeine, taurine and guarana), and safe consumption levels have not been established for most adolescents.

In the article, the authors advised that because energy drinks are frequently marketed to athletes and at-risk young adults, it is important for pediatric healthcare providers to screen for heavy use, both alone and with alcohol, and to educate families and children at risk for energy drink overdose, which can result in seizures, stroke and even sudden death. “

Until further research establishes their safety, routine energy drinks usage by children and teenagers should be discouraged,” said Steven E. Lipshultz, MD, professor and chair of pediatrics, associate executive dean for child health, and senior author of the study. “We wanted to raise awareness about the risks,” continued Lipshultz in a University of Miami press release. “Our systematic review suggests that these drinks have no benefit and should not be a part of the diet of children and teens. We need long-term research to define maximum safe doses of these beverages and the effects of chronic use, especially in at-risk populations.&rdquo