Isobutyl nitrite is a form of the alkyl nitrite group of chemical compounds. It is an ester of nitrous acid and isobutanol. The chemical compound is a pungent colorless liquid and used mainly for medicine and recreational purposes.
What are the Uses of Isobutyl Nitrite?
Isobutyl nitrite has been used for various purposes since its discovery in the 1850s. Some of the common uses of isobutyl nitrites include:
1. Being an Anti-angina Drug
Isobutyl nitrite is mainly used for its properties that are beneficial for medicine. Nitrites are effective vasodilators making them one of the most common drugs to relive angina. As a nitrite, isobutyl nitrite promotes vasodilation of the blood vessels by relaxing the smooth muscles around the arteries and veins. When blood vessels dilate, there is an improvement in the blood flow to the areas in the heart that do not receive much oxygen due to atherosclerosis or decreased lumen of the blood vessels due to a cholesterol plaque. When circulation is improved, oxygenation is also promoted reducing chest pains or angina attacks. As a potent vasodilator, isobutyl nitrate is considered an emergency drug for angina pectoris. The effect of isobutyl nitrite is also very fast rendering it effective in relieving patients from chest pain in a timely manner. Due to its vasodilation effects, the blood pressure can also rapidly decline in cases of hypertension.
2. Being an Antidote for Cyanide Poisoning
Isobutyl nitrite is also a part of the antidote for cyanide poisoning. Being a nitrite, it competes with the receptors of cyanide in order to prevent or limit the absorption of the toxic substance.
3. Being a Recreational Drug
Aside from its uses in medicine, isobutyl nitrite has been known for recreational uses. Isobutyl nitrite is one of the major chemicals used as poppers. Poppers are recreational drugs that are inhaled to produce a sense of euphoria for brief periods. Although termed as a recreational drug, poppers’ composition is the same with that of the drug used in angina pectoris and cyanide poisoning rendering it generally safe for use. Isobutyl nitrites in the form of poppers are inhaled with the end goal of increasing sexual pleasure making it one of the most promising aphrodisiacs available.
As an aphrodisiac, the use of isobutyl nitrites produces a sensation of heat and excitement that can last for minutes. This is the main reason why nitrites are very potent aphrodisiacs and recreational drugs. The presence of head rush, excitement, euphoria and heat sensation often are effective in stimulating sexual arousal. lnhaling isobutyl nitrites also relaxes the smooth muscles in the rest of the body. It also can relax the anal sphincter and the vagina.
Legal Use of Isobutyl Nitrite
Isobutyl nitrite used in poppers has a lower risk for harming the society and the individual users as compared to other recreational drugs. Isobutyl nitrite doesn’t have an addicting property.
The use of alkyl nitrites as recreational drugs is generally legal in other countries, but some countries impose a regulation in the use and prescription of the compound.
Although alkyl nitrites are rendered safe, it should be noted that anything taken in excess can also be detrimental. In this line, careful use of isobutyl nitrite in medicine or in recreation is strongly advised.