Amyl nitrite


  • Miscellaneous


  • Antianginal, cyanide antidote


  • Acute angina pectoris

  • Cyanide poisoning


  • Severe anemia, increased intracranial pressure

  • Hypertension, cerebral hemorrhage


  • Pregnancy category C

  • Drug should be inhaled while the patient is seated or lying down

  • Taking after drinking alcohol may worsen side effects

  • Amyl nitrite if very flammable

  • Tolerance may develop with repeated use

Adverse Reactions (Side Effects):

  • CNS: dizziness, headache, syncope, weakness

  • CV: cardiovascular collapse, palpitations, postural hypotension, tachycardia

  • GI: abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting

  • GU: urinary incontinence

  • HEME: hemolytic anemia, methemoglobinemia

  • MS: muscle twitching

  • SKIN: flushing, pallor,sweating


Administered via inhalation (INH)

  • a capsule of amyl nitrite is crushed with the fingers and held to the nostrils for inhalation of the vapors

  • Adult:   

    • angina pectoris, cardiac diagnostic aid: 

      • INH 0.18-0.3 ml capsule as needed

      • 1-6 INH from 1 capsule

      • may repeat in 3-5 minutes

    • cyanide poisoning: 

      • INH 0.3 ml capsule inhaled for 15 seconds until sodium nitrite infusion is ready

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