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What is Spike® Shooter?

People have complained of severe headaches from the "comedown" of a Spike® Shooter.
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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 04 July 2014
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A Spike® Shooter is an energy drink introduced in 2006 by the Colorado Company Spike LLC. It is presently known to contain the highest amount of caffeine of energy drinks, and other ingredients that may increase energy temporarily. Its introduction has also been marked by controversy because some people, especially those under the age of 18, have had adverse reactions to drinking it.

The non-active ingredients of the Spike Shooter, which is sold in 8.4 fluid ounce (250 mL) cans, include carbonated water, citric acid and sucralose. Sucralose helps keep the drink calorie free, which undoubtedly improves this drink’s popularity. Many people who’ve tried the drink find it pleasantly sweet and comparable to other energy drinks in taste.

Active ingredients include 300 milligrams of caffeine and several additional “high energy” potential substances. One is Vitamin B-12 in a 15,000-mcg dose, about 25,000% of the US Recommended Daily Allowance of this vitamin. Other “energy” substances are L-tyrosine and yohimbine.

The include of L-tyrosine and yohimbine could undoubtedly briefly raise energy levels and may account for the powerful nature of the Spike Shooter, but also may be responsible for some of its problems. L-tyrosine is an amino acid used in many energy drinks, and it may improve concentration, but it may cause side effects like nausea and diarrhea, especially when taken on an empty stomach.

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Yohimbine is typically used to combat impotency and sexual dysfunction. Its side effects can be significant and include racing heart and high blood pressure. Higher doses may cause panic attacks, hallucinations and dizziness.

These ingredients, especially the presence of yohimbine, may account for the numerous warning labels on Spike Shooter cans. In addition to suggesting those under 18 should not consume the drink, the can warning labels recommend the drink should be avoided by the following people:

  • The elderly
  • Women who are pregnant or nursing
  • People with heart disease and/or high blood pressure
  • Those with hypothyroidism
  • People with psychiatric diseases
  • Those suffering from asthma
  • People who have spasms
  • People who get frequent migraines

Recommendations on consumption suggest people try drinking only half a can first to see if they will tolerate the Spike Shooter. Anecdotal evidence from fans of energy drinks recommend following this advice. Most people additionally suggest that the drink is much more likely to cause vomiting if taken on an empty stomach. Other people note that the “comedown” from the energy drink is significant and may create depression and severe headache.

Despite limiting use to a few groups, Spike Shooter can be easily found in convenience stores in a number of US states and it can be ordered online. There is some talk about banning the sale of the product to those under 18, and a few high schools have banned use of it on campuses because students have had adverse reactions to it. These reactions include extreme vomiting and palpitations. There is potential danger for those who drink more than one Spike Shooter, as higher doses of caffeine and yohimbine are likely to have strong side effects.

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