29.05.2024

FDA warns Americans not to confuse poppers with energy shots

Americans are being warned not to confuse ‘poppers’ with energy drinks when they go to gas stations. The Food and Drug Administration warned people were accidentally drinking the sexual stimulants sold in similar small and brightly-colored bottles.

They said people were dying or facing hospitalization after drinking poppers, which are sold as ‘solvents’ and not meant for human consumption.

It comes after the warned people over the dangers in 2021, saying drinking poppers can lead to seizures, comas and death.

The Food and Drug Administration is warning people not to confuse poppers (right) for energy shots. They say the mistake could be fatal

Don't confuse poppers for energy shots, says the Food and Drug Administration Both have similar packaging which has triggered confusion previously

‘Poppers’ are sold at gas stations across the US and are popular in party culture and certain communities including the LGBT group.

People inhale poppers — which contain alkyl nitrites — that are quickly absorbed through the lungs into the blood stream and pass to the brain.

This can cause a rush of blood to the head, a surge in heart rate and feelings of relxation and euphoria

They are often deployed as sexual stimulants or at raves where people inhale them to enhance their experience.

But they are also sold in small 10 to 30-milliliter bottles with bright colors that closely resemble those for shots of energy drinks, which can lead to mistaken purchases.

The FDA said in its warning: ‘A single mistake can prove fatal.

‘We continue to receive reports of people dying or being severely injured after consuming poppers that resemble, and [are] often mistaken for, popular energy shots.’

They add: ‘Drinking or inhaling poppers seriously jeopardizes your health.’

Poppers are considered not to be dangerous when inhaled because people generally receive a low dose.

But when they are ingested, the chemicals in them cause a sudden widening of blood vessels across the body.

This can trigger a sudden drop in blood pressure, loss of consciousness and even death.

The chemicals can also corrode parts of the digestive system causing serious damage and leading to inflammation, ulceration and damage to the lining of the stomach and small intestine.

People who have previously died from drinking poppers include a 22-year-old Australian man, with his case reported in 2017.

The individual drank poppers while attending the five-day Rainbow Serpent dance festival, outside Melbourne, and went into cardiac arrest before dying.

In another incident reported from the UK in 2020, a woman died the same day that she drank an entire bottle of a popper.

The FDA does not release estimates for how many people die after drinking poppers every year in the US.

Poppers are not regulated in the US because they are sold as ‘cleaners’ or ‘solvents’ with labels indicating they are not intended for human consumption.

They have never been approved for consumption by humans.

Dr Judy McMeekin, a pharmacist at the FDA, said in 2021: ‘Make no mistake, ingesting or inhaling poppers seriously jeopardizes your health.

‘These chemicals can be caustic and damage the skin or other tissues they come in contact with, cause difficulty breathing, extreme drops in blood pressure, decreases in blood oxygen levels, seizures, heart arrhythmia, coma, and death. Do not ingest or inhale under any circumstances.’

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