Amyl Nitrite

Category: Stimulant

Also know as:

Alkyl Nitrite, Butyl Nitrite, Liquid Gold, Poppers, TNT


Poppers are a liquid chemical (alkyl nitrites), sold in small bottles for inhalation. They were originally used to treat angina and came in glass vials, which were popped open and sniffed.

Poppers are now marketed under lots of different brand names (Liquid Gold, Purple Haze, Bang Aroma) for recreational use. They’re frequently sold as room deodorisers, but not used for this purpose.

How it is taken

Poppers are typically inhaled through the nose. This is done by sniffing them from the bottle, inhaling through something absorbent like a cloth or with the help of small inhalators.


When sniffed, poppers increase blood-flow to the body which can relax muscles, cause a prolonged head-rush, create a sense of euphoria and, potentially, increase sex drive and skin sensitivity.

This, and the fact that increased blood-flow relaxes the walls of the anus and vagina, is why some people use poppers whilst having sex.

Negative side effects include nausea, fainting, feeling uncoordinated, nose bleeds, headaches and chest pains. And whilst some men say poppers increase their sexual arousal, others report finding it difficult to get an erection after taking them.


Short term:

Pounding headaches, nausea, fainting, and bulging eyes. If spilled it can burn the skin and may be fatal if swallowed. People with anaemia, glaucoma and breathing or heart problems are most at risk.

Long term:

Regular use can lead to tolerance (greater amount needed to produce the same effect) and an increase in the risks listed above.

Legal status

Amyl nitrite is very rarely used in medicine these days but is controlled under the Medicines Act. Possession is not illegal but supply can be an offence.

There have been cases where the Medicines Act was used to fine shops for selling them, but they’re still sold as Room Aromas or Deodorisers in sex shops and some clubs.

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