Use of Poppers (Amyl Nitrite): Unpleasant Side Effects in a Brothel
  • Thomas Kofler
    Department of Internal Medicine, University Hospital Basel, Basel Cardiovascular Research Institute Basel, University Hospital Basel, Basel
  • Kriemhild Lippay
    Emergency Department, University Hospital Basel, Basel
  • Marlon Goekcimen
    Emergency Department, University Hospital Basel, Basel
  • Dominique Fasel
    Emergency Department, University Hospital Basel, Basel
  • Christian H. Nickel
    Emergency Department, University Hospital Basel, Basel


Introduction: Various agents can lead to an acquired methaemoglobinaemia (MHB) with potentially fatal consequences. There is a lack of literature on the formation of methaemoglobin (MH) in the blood after the intake of poppers (amyl nitrite). Poppers are a popular aphrodisiac agent.

Case description: A 56-year-old diabetic called an ambulance after using poppers in a brothel with subsequent associated acrocyanosis, confusion and headache. The paramedics reported tachycardia and blood glucose of 3.8 mmol/l. The arterial blood gas analysis in the Emergency Department (ED) revealed a MHB of 23.1%. MH levels decreased rapidly without antidotal therapy. The patient was discharged the next day free of symptoms.

Discussion: This case illustrates the potential risks of taking poppers. A wide spectrum of symptoms were present in our patient. For the differential diagnosis of acquired MHB, poppers should be considered.



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    Published: 2014-11-05
    Issue: Vol. 1 (2014) (view)

    How to cite:
    Kofler T, Lippay K, Goekcimen M, Fasel D, Nickel CH. Use of Poppers (Amyl Nitrite): Unpleasant Side Effects in a Brothel. EJCRIM 2014;1 doi:10.12890/2014_000139.