What is it?
Amyl nitrate (aka as poppers) is a member of the alkyl nitrate family – which is found in some common household products. Amyl is a depressant, so it slows down the messages from the brain to the body – basically we are a few steps behind the beat!
It’s classified as an inhalant and is usually sold as a leather cleaner or VHS cleaner (that’s cleaning the film of videotapes for the younger crew). It comes in a small glass bottle as a liquid that is clear or slightly yellow. Amyl is also known commonly by its brand names, like Jungle Juice and Rush.
Amyl is inhaled (which basically means sniffed) directly from the bottle up the nose. Think of how we all smell fragrances – it’s similar to that. It is not safe to drink or snort the liquid, and it will leave burn marks when coming into contact with the skin.
What are the effects?
It is often used during sex to heighten the pleasure and relax our body muscles, or in combination with other drugs to heighten their effects. The effects are felt immediately and last between 2-5 minutes.
- Euphoric rush
- Flushed face
- Increased heart rate and dizziness
- Warming sensation
- Feelings of excitement and lowered inhibition
- Muscle relaxation, particularly the anal, front-hole and vaginal sphincter
- Low blood pressure
- Slowed breathing
- Skin irritation
- Blurred vision
- Nose bleeds
- Allergic reactions
- Methaemoglobinaemia (which was just as hard to write as I’m guessing it was to pronounce). It’s a blood disorder causing oxygen supply issues to body tissue.
People who are pregnant, anaemic, have a heart condition, experience high blood pressure or have a brain injury should not use amyl.
The use of amyl is very rarely life-threatening unless we drink or ingest it. That would require a quick trip to the emergency department. The biggest issue is for people taking Viagra or other erectile dysfunction medications. This combination causes our blood pressure to drop so low that we lose consciousness – and in some cases experience a stroke, heart attack or death – and that’s sometimes all she wrote, folks! Watch out for each other and call 000 in an emergency.
Mixing with other drugs
The effects of mixing amyl with other drugs – including over the counter or prescribed medications can be unpredictable and dangerous. Do not mix amyl with the following medications because it may increase the risk of overdose, and even death:
There are a range of unsafe interactions to be cautious of when mixing amyl and other drugs, and they can be found at the Australian Drug Foundation.
The interactions between amyl and antiretroviral medications are not well known. There’s currently no evidence to suggest that amyl use directly reduces the efficacy of antiretroviral medications. If some new research comes to light, then we’ll update this section and let you know.
The interactions between amyl and PrEP and PEP are not well known. There’s currently no evidence to suggest that amyl use directly interacts with these medications or reduces their efficacy. We’ll keep looking and update you if any new research comes to light.
To learn about the interactions between specific HIV medications and amyl head to Liverpool HIV Drug Interactions Checker.
The interactions between amyl and HRT are not well known. There’s currently no evidence to suggest that amyl use directly interacts with HRT or reduces its efficacy. We’ll keep looking and update this information if something new comes to light.