typically belongs to a class of drugs known as alkyl nitrites and have been used as an anti-depressant, anti-hypersensitive drug and also to treat cyanide poisoning .
However it is often misused as an inhalant due to its psychoactive properties.
It is most used in the gay community where it is commonly known as poppers
. The term poppers
first began being used for these drugs in the 1960s, when amyl nitrite, which was then used as a heart medicine, was sold in capsules that were cracked, or "popped," to release the chemical.
are a liquid drug that can give an instant high when inhaled. Other names for it are amyl nitrite, butyl nitrite, and liquid gold. The effects of poppers
appear quickly and include dizziness, warm sensations, an increased heart rate, and headaches.
have a widespread recreational use. The drug can cause euphoric effects and act as a sex enhancer by relaxing the anal muscles during gay sex.
are sometimes marketed as room deodorizers or leather cleaners, although people rarely use them for these purposes.
Although intense, most of the euphoric effects wear off quickly, typically within a few seconds or minutes. The drug is unsafe for people to take.
are vasodilators, meaning that they dilate the blood vessels. As a result, blood pressure drops rapidly, leading to lightheadedness, sometimes resulting in a brief loss of consciousness and muscle strength, known as syncope. At the same time, the heart speeds up, even if the person using poppers
is relaxed, known as tachycardia.
can cause severe effects, and may be fatal. Taking the drug in this way can cause irregular and rapid heart rhythms and result in a syndrome called "sudden sniffing death." There has been numerous cases of such deaths among the gay community for eons.
usage can also result in other complications that are potentially fatal. For example, the drug can cause methemoglobinemia, a life-threatening condition that occurs when the body produces too much methemoglobin, a substance in red blood cells.
may also lead to serious brain or eye damage and risky sexual behavior.
Studies in animal models have shown that the chemicals in poppers
are be toxic to the brain and inhibit learning and memory.
It is also possible for poppers
to cause temporary or permanent vision loss. This may occur because the drugs' chemical formulations cause retinal damage. The drug can also increase the fluid pressure in the eyes, known as intraocular pressure, which may be problematic to people who are at risk of glaucoma.
also lead to risky sexual activity, increasing the chances of contracting HIV, STIs such as HPV, Gonorrhea, Syphillis, and other infectious diseases including Hepatitis.
Research from 2017 links long-term poppers
use in men who have sex with men to a higher risk of cancers related to viruses and sexually transmitted infections. The participants did not have HIV.
Some individuals mix poppers
with erectile dysfunction medication, such as sildenafil (Viagra) and tadalafil (Cialis). This can increase the risk of cardiovascular complications, which can be fatal.
with alcohol is also unsafe and can result in a dangerous drop in blood pressure. In addition, alcohol can increase the risk of adverse effects such as dizziness and lightheadedness.
also relax the muscles around the anus and some people report that using poppers
enhances their pleasure from anal sex, the drug can also reduce the ability to get an erection.
may cause other unwanted effects, such as:
-Headaches: Because poppers
cause blood vessels in the brain to widen, headaches can result. They can vary in intensity and may persist after the euphoric effects of the drug wear off.
-Respiratory reactions: Inhaling strong chemicals, such as poppers
, can affect breathing and other functions of the respiratory tract, leading to sinus problems and wheezing.
-Crusty skin lesions: These typically occur around the nose, lips, and other areas exposed to amyl nitrite
-Allergic reactions: Scented poppers can cause problems for people who are allergic to certain fragrant chemicals.
-Other adverse reactions include chest pains, nausea, loss of coordination, and nosebleeds.
News strongly advises all to stay away from using poppers
. Though they are cheap and come in small bottles that can be easily ordered online and in most countries, its not considered a controlled substance, it is still a danger to one’s health. Though you can sometimes be pressured to use it or be told by so called ‘friends’ that is safe or that you may like it, always say no. If you have been using poppers, its time to stop and make an appointment with your doctor to assess the damage done to your body and health.