What are poppers?

(NEXSTAR) — The US Food and Drug Administration is warning Americans to make sure the tiny bottles they’re drinking from aren’t accidentally something else — specifically, poppers. But you might be wondering what that means.

“Poppers” is a term used to refer to a variety of liquid chemicals, typically amyl nitrate, that are sometimes inhaled recreationally by people to increase sexual arousal and temporarily relax. While these items it is possible sold (and widely available in places like adult supply stores), their use is in no way approved by the FDA, and their use as medicine is illegal.

Although poppers cannot legally be sold as “poppers”, small bottles can be sold for other uses, such as cleaners, nail polish removers or air fresheners. Some popular brands include Rush, Super Rush, and Sub-Zero—many of these brands come in bottles similar in size to energy drink bottles like 5-Hour Energy.

And the FDA says there are still deaths and hospitalizations accidentally swallowed poppers instead of energy drinks, despite a warning published in 2021.

“One mistake could prove fatal.” The FDA wrote on their social media channels on Wednesday. “Eating or inhaling poppers seriously endangers your health.”

What do poppers do?

Although not legal for use, poppers remain popular in some communities, including LGBTQ and hangouts. How Cleveland Clinic explains, poppers belong to a group of chemicals known as vasodilators.

When inhaled as vapors, these nitrates “allow blood vessels to dilate and increase blood flow” and relax smooth muscle tissue.

But the FDA warns against any use of poppers — because even using them in the way some people intend them to be can be dangerous or deadly.

“These chemicals can be caustic and can damage the skin or other tissues they come into contact with, causing difficulty breathing, a sudden drop in blood pressure, reduced oxygen levels in the blood, seizures, cardiac arrhythmia, coma and death,” said Judy McMeekin. , Pharm. D., FDA Deputy Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs. Do not swallow or inhale under any circumstances.”

The dangers of popper use include irregular heartbeats and illnesses, dangerously low blood pressure, drug interactions, and vision loss.

If you think you are having serious side effects related to poppers, you should call 911 or go to an emergency room.

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