For the episode, see Vertigo.
"Tie me up, lock me down it doesn't matter - there will always be a Vertigo, always someone to pick up the mantle. You have given it the power. Don't you see? Don't you see?"
Werner Zytle[src]

Vertigo is a deadly narcotic that makes its users disoriented. It was first developed by Cecil Adams, known as Count Vertigo (formerly known as The Count), and later by Werner Zytle.

When injected directly into the blood stream while in its purest form, it affects the thalamus, where all the information from the pain receptors are collected. This then causes the victim to believe that they are in excruciating pain. The effect can last for days, until the heart just gives up and stops. With the version introduced by Werner Zytle, Vertigo not only induced excruciating pain, but also made the user hallucinate their greatest fear.


Thea Queen was given the drug for her birthday by friends. At first, she was reluctant to use it, but after seeing her mother with Malcolm Merlyn, she consumed the drug and drove off in her new convertible which she later crashed. She crashed on the side of the road and was taken to the hospital, where they found the narcotic in her system, and she was promptly arrested.

When Oliver found out that his sister had gotten Vertigo, he arranged a meeting with Cecil Adams, at the time was known as The Count. But in doing so, he got injected with Vertigo, therefore, unable to aim, so he confronted Cecil Adams himself bow-less (though still having the effects of Vertigo), and fed him his own Vertigo, causing him to go into a near-vegetative state for some time, during which Doctor Webb distributed the drug with a new ingredient. After the destruction of the Glades, Adams recovered and began redistributing yet another version of Vertigo in a gambit to eliminate the Hood (now the Arrow). This ended in Cecil Adams death and further distribution of this drug was halted.

Werner Zytle soon took up the mantle of Count Vertigo and began as a simple pill-pusher before redistributing Vertigo yet again, but with a new added effect from mushrooms that cause the user to see their greatest fear. Like the original Count, Zytle often used needles to force the drug into others, but replaced handheld syringes with thick throwing darts when he decided to take over the criminal underworld.



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  • The colors of the pills, green and black, are the same as Count Vertigo's costume in the DC comics.
  • In small doses, it is supposed to resemble 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), a drug that causes elevated blood pressure, agitation, mass hemorrhaging, and violent convulsions.