Michigan doctors back FDA warning against ‘poppers’

Michigan

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The FDA is warning people to stop using “poppers,” a drug popular in the gay community that can be found online or in stores. They cause muscle relaxation, but the FDA says they can also lead to deadly complications. 

They have names like Double Scorpio, Jungle Juice, Extreme Formula and Super RUSH. The product is advertised as tape cleaner for a VHS or nail polish remover.

The bottles says not for consumption, but people who buy them sniff or drink the liquid — which is alkyl nitrites — inside.

“Once it gets into your blood system then it can have that relaxation effect on your brain, it can go into your heart muscles,” said Dr. Lisa Lowery, an adolescent and young adult medicine specialist at Spectrum Health.

Lowery says when you inhale the chemicals they move quickly through your body.

“You take these things for that relaxation or that euphoria, but if you huff it in or huff too much your reaction can cause disorientation, dizziness, can cause to where you pass out because your blood pressure is too low or can actually lead to death,” said Lowery. 

Poppers are popular in the gay community because the drug relaxes muscles. But the FDA is telling people not to use poppers for sexual enhancement or recreational use, saying there has been an uptick in reported deaths and hospitalizations.

The warning is out, but the poppers are still for sale online and in stores.

News 8 went to a local adult video store and asked for “poppers.” They were by the checkout, ready for purchase.

The Kent County Health Department, sheriff’s office and medical examiner told News 8 there have been no incidents involving nitrate poppers or anything similar in Kent County.

Online, people said they were going to keep using the drug despite the FDA warning.

“There are people that say ‘it hasn’t happened to me’ or ‘I’m going to take my chances,'” Lowery said. “So, they have in their own mind that risk-benefit ratio, but I would advise against using the poppers.”

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