Medical Dictionary Search Engines

Please be patient! It may take up to ONE minute to load all the Engines.
Problems? Please contact our support.


Search For


Specialty Search




WebMD DrugDigest MedicineNet RxList
Other drug names: A-Am An-Az B C-Ch Ci-Cz D-Dh Di-Dz E F G H I-J K-L M-Mh Mi-Mz N-Nh Ni-Nz O P-Pl Pm-Pz Q-R S-Sn So-Sz T-To Tp-Tz U-V W-Z 0-9   

Amyl Nitrite (Systemic)


  • Antianginal
  • Antidote to cyanide poisoning
  • Diagnostic aid, cardiac function


Amyl nitrite (AM-il NYE-trite) is related to the nitrate medicines and is used by inhalation to relieve the pain of angina attacks. It works by relaxing blood vessels and increasing the supply of blood and oxygen to the heart while reducing its workload.

Amyl nitrite may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

This medicine comes in a glass capsule covered by a protective cloth. The cloth covering allows you to crush the glass capsule between your fingers without cutting yourself.

On the street, this medicine and others like it are sometimes called "poppers." They have been used by some people to cause a "high" or to improve sex. Use in this way is not recommended. Amyl nitrite can cause serious harmful effects if too much is inhaled.

Amyl nitrite is available only with your doctor's prescription, in the following dosage form:

  • Glass capsules (U.S. and Canada)

Before Using This Medicine

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For amyl nitrite, the following should be considered:

Allergies- Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to amyl nitrite or nitrates. Also tell your health care professional if you are allergic to any other substances, such as foods or dyes.

Pregnancy- Studies on effects in pregnancy have not been done in either humans or animals. However, use of amyl nitrite is not recommended during pregnancy because it could cause serious problems in the unborn baby.

Breast-feeding- It is not known whether amyl nitrite passes into breast milk. However, use of amyl nitrite is not recommended during breast-feeding, because it may cause unwanted effects in nursing babies.

Children- Studies on this medicine have been done only in adult patients and there is no specific information comparing use of amyl nitrite in children with use in other age groups.

Older adults- Dizziness or lightheadedness may be more likely to occur in the elderly, who are usually more sensitive to the effects of amyl nitrite.

Other medicines- Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking amyl nitrite, it is especially important that your health care professional knows if you are taking any of the following:

  • Amantadine (e.g., Symmetrel) or
  • Antidepressants (medicine for depression) or
  • Antihypertensives (high blood pressure medicine) or
  • Antipsychotics (medicine for mental illness) or
  • Bromocriptine (e.g., Parlodel) or
  • Diuretics (water pills) or
  • Levodopa (e.g., Dopar) or
  • Medicine for heart disease or
  • Nabilone (e.g., Cesamet)-in high doses or
  • Narcotic pain medicine or
  • Nimodipine (e.g., Nimotop) or
  • Pentamidine (e.g., Pentam) or
  • Pimozide (e.g., Orap) or
  • Promethazine (e.g., Phenergan) or
  • Trimeprazine (e.g., Temaril)-May increase dizziness or lightheadedness when getting up from a lying or sitting position
  • Sildenafil-May increase the blood pressure****“lowering effects of amyl nitrite

It is also important that your health care professional knows if you are using any of the following medicines in the eye:

  • Levobunolol (e.g., Betagan) or
  • Metipranolol (e.g., Optipranolol) or
  • Timolol (e.g., Timoptic)-May increase dizziness or lightheadedness when getting up from a lying or sitting position

Other medical problems- The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of amyl nitrite. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
  • Anemia (severe)
  • Glaucoma-Amyl nitrite may make this condition worse
  • Overactive thyroid
  • Recent stroke, heart attack, or head injury

Proper Use of This Medicine

To use amyl nitrite:

  • When you begin to feel an attack of angina starting (chest pains or a tightness or squeezing in the chest), sit down. Then crush the cloth-covered glass capsule containing amyl nitrite between your finger and thumb. Pass it back and forth close to your nose and inhale the vapor several (1 to 6) times . Since you may become dizzy, lightheaded, or faint soon after using amyl nitrite, it is best to sit or lie down rather than stand while the medicine is working. If you become dizzy or faint while sitting, take several deep breaths of air and either bend forward with your head between your knees or lie down with your feet elevated.
  • Remain calm and you should feel better in a few minutes.

Use this medicine exactly as directed by your doctor , and do not use more than your doctor ordered. Using too much amyl nitrite may cause a dangerous overdose. If the medicine does not seem to be working as well after you have used it for a while, check with your doctor. Do not increase the dose on your own .


Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label . The following information includes only the average doses of amyl nitrite:

  • For inhalation dosage form:
    • Adults: 0.3 milliliter (1 ampul) taken by inhaling the vapor of amyl nitrite through the nose. Dose may be repeated within 1 to 5 minutes if pain is not relieved. If you still have chest pain after a total of 2 doses in a 10-minute period, contact your doctor or have someone take you to a hospital emergency room without delay .


To store this medicine:

  • Keep out of the reach of children.
  • Store away from heat and direct light.
  • Do not store in the bathroom or in the kitchen. Heat may cause the medicine to break down.
  • Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed. Be sure that any discarded medicine is out of the reach of children.

Precautions While Using This Medicine

Do not take sildenafil (e.g., Viagra) if you are taking this medicine. When sildenafil is taken with amyl nitrite, the combination can lower blood pressure and cause dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting. In some cases, sildenafil taken with the related nitrates has caused death.

Amyl nitrite is extremely flammable . Keep it away from heat or any open flame, especially when crushing the capsule. Amyl nitrite can catch fire very easily and cause serious burns.

Dizziness or lightheadedness may occur , especially when you get up from a lying or sitting position. Getting up slowly may help, but if the problem continues or gets worse, check with your doctor.

Drinking alcohol while you are taking this medicine may make the dizziness or lightheadedness worse and may cause a serious drop in blood pressure . Check with your doctor before drinking alcoholic beverages.

After using a dose of amyl nitrite, you may get a mild headache that lasts for a short time. This is a common side effect and is no cause for alarm. However, if this effect continues, or if the headaches are severe, check with your doctor.

Side Effects of This Medicine

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • Rare
    • Skin rash;  unusual tiredness or weakness  

  • Signs and symptoms of overdose
    • Bluish-colored lips, fingernails, or palms of hands;  dizziness (extreme) or fainting;  feeling of extreme pressure in head;  shortness of breath ;  unusual tiredness or weakness;  weak and fast heartbeat 

Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. However, check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:

  • More common
    • Dizziness or lightheadedness, especially when getting up from a lying or sitting position;  fast pulse;  flushing of face and neck;  headache (mild);  nausea or vomiting;  restlessness 

Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor.

©2009 [Privacy Policy] [Disclaimer]
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT