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Lethal cocktail.

Byline: Bill Doult

Thrill-seeking youngsters are dicing with death by mixing two sex-enhancing drugs, according to a Teesside MP.

It is a growing fashion among clubbers and at raves to combine Viagra with poppers - amyl nitrates - as recreational drugs.

But the result can be very harmful, says Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland MP Ashok Kumar.

Both the substances lower blood pressure substantially and if used simultaneously can lead to dangerously low levels, resulting in strokes, heart attacks or even death.

Dr Kumar is urging ministers to issue specific warnings spelling out the danger.

The MP, whose professional background is as a chemist, is concerned that those experimenting with the two drugs are unaware of the real risks.

He is calling on the Home Office to commission further research into the double dangers and has asked the Department of Health to put out leaflets explaining what is already known about the effects of the two drugs together.

Often sold in sex and joke shops, gay bars and clubs, amyl nitrates are frequently used to heighten sexual arousal and can give the perception of altering time.

Even on its own, the drug can result in loss of balance and fainting, especially if people are involved in physical activity like dancing.

The likelihood of accidents is increased and people with heart problems or blood pressure are more at risk.

Swallowing a large quantity can lead to unconsciousness and there have been incidents where it has led to death.

Public Health Minister Caroline Flint told the Teesside MP that her department had issued leaflets about the use and side effects of drugs, including poppers, specifically aimed at young people.

However, there have been no Whitehall warnings about the added dangers of combining the drugs with Viagra.

Dr Kumar says: "Medical experts have suspected for a while that using Viagra simultaneously with liquid amyl nitrates can lead to stroke, heart attack or even death.

"So the authorities have a duty to provide the public with information of these potential dangers."
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Title Annotation:News Local
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Jul 14, 2005
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