What are poppers?
- “Poppers” is the popular name for various alkyl nitrites, including isobutyl nitrite, butyl nitrite, and amyl nitrite.
- Doctors used to prescribe amyl nitrite for heart patients in capsules that were broken or “popped” to release vapors. Amyl nitrite is made and sold illegally, but most poppers are isobutyl nitrite or butyl nitrite sold in small brown bottles as “video head cleaner,” “room deodorizer,” or “leather cleaner.”
- The exact contents of these products are not known, and they are not safety tested.
What are the effects of poppers?
- Poppers are used by sniffing the vapors from an open bottle. The effects are felt within a few seconds and last for 1-2 minutes.
- Poppers cause muscles around blood vessels to relax, making your heart speed up to pump more blood. Oxygen-rich blood reaching the brain produces a “rush” sensation.
- Because poppers cause muscles in the anus and vagina to relax, they are often used during sex.
- If swallowed call 911 or Poison Contol.
- Contact with the skin causes irritation and rashes. Extensive use can damage the nose and lungs.
- Some people experience headaches, sensations of spinning or falling, and loss of erection.
- Poppers are highly flammable. Keep away from cigarettes, candles, and lighters.
- Studies show that poppers reduce the functioning of the immune system for several days after use.
- Because poppers cause blood vessels to open, it is easier to get an infection, including sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV.
- Poppers pose extra risks for people who are pregnant or have suppressed immune systems, heart problems, anemia, low or high blood pressure, or a history of cerebral hemorrhaging.
- Combining poppers with stimulants like speed and cocaine increases risks. Combining poppers and Viagra is dangerous because both cause blood pressure to drop.
- Poppers can affect your judgment. If you are planning on being intimate, put on a condom before you use them.
- To prevent spilling and evaporation, pour a small amount in a separate bottle filled with cotton and store tightly sealed in a refrigerator or freezer.
- Possession of amyl nitrite without a doctor’s prescription is illegal. Federal law bans the manufacture and distribution of butyl nitrite and related substances, although these provisions have not been enforced.