Poppers Side Effects

Alkyl nitrites are a group of substances commonly used in products like air fresheners; they have also become popular for recreational use, known on the market as inhalants or "poppers." Poppers have notoriously been a part of America's club culture, but users have been known to incorporate the drug in sexual activity to enhance feelings of pleasure. Poppers are also popular with minors because they are relatively easy to purchase. Although not illegal to possess, alkyl nitrites still pose health dangers ranging from mild to potentially deadly.


Headaches are one of the most common side effects of popper use; severity varies depending on the user. The headaches result from how poppers interact with your cardiovascular system. Similar to alcohol intoxication, as the alkyl nitrite inhalants enter your bloodstream, they cause the blood vessels to dilate. According to the National Headache Foundation, in some users this dilation will cause a headache.


The use of popper inhalants can also create a series of cardiovascular side effects. For example, the dilation of blood vessels can cause a severe drop in blood pressure, leading to dizziness, feelings of being lightheaded, and even instances of passing out. This drop can be especially dangerous to those who already suffer from hypotension, or abnormally low blood pressure. Using poppers can also increase your heart rate, producing the sensation of a racing heart beat.

Nervous System

Extended use of poppers may cause severe damage to your nervous system. The National Institute on Drug Abuse notes that both the central nervous system and brain may experience problems, including limb spasms and brain damage.

Other Common Side Effects

Other common side effects of popper vary, and include nausea and vomiting, loss of sensation, hearing loss, head pressure, flushing of the face and neck, skin rash, and feelings of restlessness.


Popper overdoses can result in heart failure, and can kill users through asphyxiation, with the inhalant crowding out oxygen from the lungs. According to the Mayo Clinic, signs of a potential overdose include dizziness, blue tinting of the skin and nails, extreme pressure in the head, shortness of breath, passing out, and a weak and fast heartbeat. If you are experiencing any of these signs, seek medical attention immediately.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Load Comments

Copyright © 2019 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use , Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy . The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.