Health Canada

Health Canada

May 16, 2013 13:30 ET

Marketed Leather Cleaners and Liquid Incense Are Being Used to Get "High": Poses Serious Dangers to Canadians

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - May 16, 2013) -

The issue:

Health Canada has been made aware of three products ("Rochefort", "Rush" and "Amsterdam Special"), commonly known as "poppers", labelled to contain alkyl nitrites . These products, labelled as leather cleaners and/or liquid incense, are known to be used by consumers to get "high" and may pose serious risks to health if they are inhaled or swallowed.

Who is affected:

Canadians who have used any of these products, particularly 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) and illicit drugs.

What consumers should do:

- Consult your healthcare practitioner with any questions or concerns regarding use of these products.

- Report any adverse reaction potentially related to these products to Health Canada.

- Contact Health Canada's toll-free line at 1-800-267-9675 with questions or complaints about these products.

What Health Canada is doing:

Health Canada has requested that the distributors and retailer stop the sale of "Rochefort", "Rush" and "Amsterdam Special", along with any other products containing alkyl nitrites. Health Canada is also working with the Canada Border Services Agency to stop any future shipments of these products from entering Canada.

A Yukon retailer (Adult Temptations, 211 Black Street, Whitehorse) where these three products were found has agreed to stop selling them.

Lockerroom Marketing Ltd. (694 Derwent Way, Delta, B.C.) has been distributing "Rochefort", "Rush", "Amsterdam Special" and other products containing alkyl nitrites. Health Canada is following up with this company regarding the stop sale and recall of these products.

Two other distributors, SD Variations Inc., 2801, boulevard Le Corbusier, Laval, Québec and Discount DVD Depot, 8A-994 Westport Crescent, Mississauga, Ontario have stopped the sale of the products they distributed. SD Variations Inc. has also voluntarily recalled the products they distributed.


Alkyl nitrites, such as amyl nitrite, butyl nitrite and isobutyl nitrite, are considered drugs under the Food and Drugs Act, and require an approval by Health Canada to be legally sold in Canada. Health Canada is not aware of credible evidence confirming that alkyl nitrites are legitimately used in consumer products such as leather cleaners, room odourisers or liquid incense. Health Canada's view is that even though these products are labelled as consumer products, they are manufactured and sold so that users can "get a high".

Products containing alkyl nitrites could pose serious risks, including death, to Canadians, 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.

Serious side effects can include: potentially life-threatening low blood pressure, especially when used with drugs to treat erectile dysfunction (sildenafil, tadalafil, vardenafil); rapid or irregular heart rhythm; and a decrease in the blood's ability to carry oxygen (methemoglobinemia) when used at high doses or repeatedly over a long period. Other side effects include difficulty breathing, muscle weakness, loss of consciousness (fainting or passing out), respiratory depression, and damage to the liver or kidney.

People with glaucoma, recent head trauma or bleeding into the head are also at risk, as are those using certain drugs for high blood pressure, migraines, and high doses of aspirin.

Alcohol may make the side effects of "poppers" worse, as could their use with illicit drugs. Inhaled alkyl nitrites can cause harm to the fetus during pregnancy. Users of inhaled alkyl nitrites have also suffered burns as the vapour is highly flammable.

Photos of the products affected are available at the following address:

For more information:

Consumers and health professionals wanting more information about this advisory from Health Canada can contact the Public Enquiries Line at 613-957-2991, or toll free at 1-866-225-0709.

Media enquiries related to this Advisory should be directed to Health Canada Media Relations at 613-957-2983.

How to report side effects to health products:

To report suspected adverse reaction to these or other health products, please contact Health Canada's Canada Vigilance Program 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
  • Internet:
  • Mail: Canada Vigilance Program
    Marketed Health Products Directorate
    Ottawa, ON, Address Locator 0701E
    K1A 0K9

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Contact Information

  • Media Inquiries:
    Health Canada
    (613) 957-2983

    Public Inquiries:
    (613) 957-2991
    1-866 225-0709