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Andy Campbell

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Will Energy Patches Replace Your Coffee Enema?

Posted: 12/17/2012 1:17 pm

It's Monday afternoon, and you're like us, so you've already taken 14 cups of coffee and a sugary Red Bull straight to the dome.

You're a fierce energy addict, and you want all the buzz of a red-eye without the pound-packing sugar of energy drinks or the bathroom break-inducing effects of coffee. Well, energy patches are here, and Spot On Energy claims to be the answer to all your important caffeine woes.

Pouches of two of the energy supplements, which look a lot like a nicotine patch, go for about $4 at your local CVS and Walgreens. But do they work?

HuffPost reporters conducted an oh-so-scientific research study into Spot On Energy last week, and sat down with a 52-year pharmacist from New Jersey to determine whether the patches are the answer to coffee or just another marketing gimmick in order to get your children high, legally.

energy patch

HuffPost Weird News Editor Andy Campbell took an energy patch straight to the dome.

One patch contains 65 milligrams of caffeine -- your average cup of Joe contains about 100 milligrams -- and releases this and several other homeopathic supplements you've never heard of (what's Natrum Carbonicum?) into your bloodstream, through your skin, over a five-hour period.

It appears to give a buzz. Five HuffPost reporters tried slapping on a patch or two, without drinking coffee, and four out of five reported a solid high after about an hour. But pharmacist Michael Fedida isn't so sure about their effectiveness.

"It's hard to tell, but with a patch this cheap you're probably experiencing mostly a placebo effect," Fedida told HuffPost Weird News. "Spot On has pretty packaging, and these marketing people are very talented. But you have to go through many layers of skin to get to the bloodstream, and I'm not sure these transdermal patches would work as well as the ones we give to hospice patients."

Fedida doesn't recommend introducing any kind of stimulant to your nervous system, whether it be sugar, caffeine, alcohol or nicotine. He is, in fact, a self-described prude who doesn't drink, smoke or take caffeine suppositories. But he did agree that "if you're choosing the lesser of two evils," a no-sugar patch wins over a Red Bull, which contains a whopping 27 grams of sugar.

"The contents are pretty innocuous. I dont think they'd do much damage," he said.

Can four patches at a time do much damage? Stay tuned. We're on the case.

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