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April 6, 1970

Amyl Nitrite Inhalation Fad

Author Affiliations

Los Angeles

JAMA. 1970;212(1):160. doi:10.1001/jama.1970.03170140116037

To the Editor.—  The pharmacologic properties of amyl nitrite are well known: it acts specifically as a smooth muscle relaxant and vasodilator.1 Side effects of its use include dizziness, headache, pain localized about the eyes, and transient elevation of intraocular pressure. Unlike drugs such as atropine or other belladonna-like agents which may precipitate an attack of acute angleclosure glaucoma, amyl nitrite does not pose this threat.We wish, however, to draw the attention of ophthalmologists to a new fad involving the use of amyl nitrite by teenagers and young adults to enhance and prolong the sexual experience.2 Ampules are crushed and their contents inhaled immediately before sexual climax. There appears to be a time-expanding effect, possibly related to transient cerebral ischemia, which gives the user the illusion that orgasm lasts for an extended period of time. The use of amyl nitrite for enhancement of sexual pleasure may lead