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Published on April 23, 2015 at 8:00 / Updated on April 16, 2020 at 17:31
Synonyms The most common synonyms, based on the type of product, are:
  • Amyl nitrite: poppers, rush
  • Butyl nitrite: Aroma of men, Ban apple gas, Bang, Bolt, Bullet, Climax, Cum, Discorama, Hardware, Heart on, Jac aroma, Lightning bolt, Locker room, Rush, Satan's scent, Thrust and Toilet water
Classification Central nervous system depressant, solvent:
  • Refers to a substance that slows mental functions by reducing the brain's overall activity and alertness. Has a calming effect on the user.
Visual description
  • Yellow liquid that is volatile and flammable
  • Sweet, fruity odour
  • Sold in amber bottles
Mechanism of action
  • Promotes arterial dilation and peripheral vasodilation by relaxing the smooth muscles, which reduces the load on the heart. As a result, blood flow to the brain is decreased and mental activity is slowed.
Routes of administration
  • The fumes from these substances are inhaled.

Effects sought out by the user

  • Arousal
  • Eases social bonding
  • Euphoria
  • Facilitates certain sexual practices
  • Heightened sexual pleasure / intense orgasm
  • Muscle relaxation

Common toxic effects

  • Agitation
  • Decreased perception of time
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Eye irritation
  • Feeling of intense internal heat
  • Feeling of panic
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Skin redness
  • Specific after taste
  • Stimulation
  • Stomach cramps
  • Sweating
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Vertigo (immediately after inhalation)
  • Vomiting

Overdose effects

  • Altered perceptions
  • Convulsions (rare)
  • Fainting
  • Methemoglobinemia (can be fatal): occurs most often if ingested, rare when inhaled
  • Motor disorders
  • Paresthesia (tingling, numbness)
  • Respiratory depression
  • Syncope (loss of consciousness)
  • Violent vertigo

Effects associated with chronic use

  • Anemia
  • Confusion
  • Delirium
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Inflammation of mucus membrane of the nose (poppers dermatitis): resolves within 10 days of stopping
  • Kaposi's sarcoma (butyl nitrite) in those with HIV
  • Perceptual distortions
  • Perioral rash
  • Rhinorrhea (runny nose)
  • Skin rash/yellowish crusts
  • Sneezing
  • Sweet breath

Tolerance (need to increase the dose to feel the same effect)

Not well documented.


Psychological dependence when used regularly. No physical dependence has been observed.


Has not been observed.

Onset and duration of action

Routes of
Onset of
Duration of
InhalationVery fast2 to 3 minutes

Intoxication management

  • An antidote is available: methylene blue. Administer in the presence of methemoglobinemia.
  • Symptomatic treatment.

Many different street drugs are sold under the same name. Furthermore, nothing guarantees the quantity, purity or even the content of a street drug in spite of the fact that it may, in some cases, look like medication.

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