The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned people not to use alkyl nitrite drugs, commonly known as poppers, after it noticed a rise in deaths and hospitalizations.
These drugs come in liquid form and are sold in 10 to 40 milliliter bottles that look like energy shots. They are commonly marketed as nail polish remover or cleaning products. They have been used to treat people suffering from chest pains caused by angina, with their name coming from the action of popping open glass capsules.
People generally take poppers, which smell strongly of solvents, by sniffing them. They might do this straight out of the bottle, or douse absorbent material and sniff that. Although they are liquid, poppers aren’t generally drunk as this causes the body to absorb chemicals faster, which can heighten the risk of taking them.
Newsweek subscription offers >
They can also boost sex drive, make skin more sensitive, and relax the anus and vagina, which is why some people take them before sex. While some say poppers can give
According to the FDA, poppers are sold online and in adult novelty stores, with names like “Jungle Juice,” “Extreme Formula,” “HardWare,” “Quick Silver,” “Super RUSH,”
The FDA has issued an advisory telling consumers not to buy or take poppers because they can cause serious adverse health effects, including death, when ingested or inhaled. It said nitrates should only be ingested or inhaled under the guidance of a health care professional. Those who own them should stop using them and throw them out.
Anyone experiencing an illness after using the products should contact their health care provider immediately, the FDA said. Also contact your health care provider if you have used poppers are worried about your health.
Diane Calello, executive and medical director of the New Jersey Poison Control Center at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, says “Poppers are very popular, so additional advice on how to safely use would be a useful addition to harm reduction here,” she said.
Due to the nature of poppers being used before sex, people on Twitter poked fun at the advisory. But the FDA’s announcement attracted the attention of LGBTQ publications like Out magazine and The Advocate, who relayed the agency’s warning on Monday.
Calello warned users against combining poppers with other sexual enhancement compounds, such as sildenafil, which can cause blood pressure to drop dangerously low.
She told Healthline that while poppers do not have known long-term side effects, “of course a cardiac arrest or other organ damage can leave a lasting mark.”