Health Canada

Health Canada

June 27, 2013 17:00 ET

Information Update: "Poppers" Sold Across Canada Pose Serious Risks

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - June 27, 2013) - Health Canada is updating the list of retail locations that were found to be selling "poppers." Health Canada has notified these retailers that the sale of "poppers" is not permitted under the Food and Drugs Act and is verifying that these unauthorized products have been removed from the Canadian market.

"Poppers" is a slang term given to products that contain alkyl nitrites. Despite being labelled as consumer products such as leather cleaners, room odourizers or liquid incense, these products are used by consumers to get "high".

Products containing alkyl nitrites may pose serious risks, including death, depending on the amount used, how frequently they are used and how long they are used for, as well as the person's health and the other medications they may be taking. Since it is difficult to control how much is inhaled, people can accidentally overdose. Swallowing these products can lead to serious medical complications and may be fatal.

People with certain medical conditions (including recent head trauma, bleeding into the head, glaucoma, heart disease) and those taking certain medications (particularly drugs used to treat erectile dysfunction, and other drugs such as high blood pressure medications, certain migraine drugs, and high doses of aspirin) or illicit drugs are at particular risk.

If you have used "poppers" and are concerned about their impact on your health, please consult your healthcare practitioner.

In Canada, products containing alkyl nitrites are considered drugs under the Food and Drugs Act and must be authorized by Health Canada to be legally sold. Such authorization is given only after a careful review demonstrates that the benefits of the product outweigh the risks. When Departmental experts review a drug for authorization, they assess the drug's safety for its intended use.

Canadians can monitor the Healthy Canadians website for updates to the list of retail locations.

To report suspected adverse reaction to these or other health products, please contact the Canada Vigilance Program of Health Canada toll-free at 1-866-234-2345, or complete a Canada Vigilance Reporting Form and send to us using one of these methods:

Fax: 1-866-678-6789
Mail: Canada Vigilance Program
Marketed Health Products Directorate
Ottawa, ON, Address Locator 0701E
K1A 0K9

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