Nitrous oxide or laughing gas is regularly used in surgery and dentistry, for its anesthetic and pain-reducing effects.
Now a new study has found that this gas may relieve depression in people when other therapies have failed.
Treatment will greatly help patients in crisis who need an effective rapid treatment
Researchers from the University of Chicago Medicine and Washington University School of Medicine used a unique approach to treat depression. They found that a single, one-hour inhalation treatment of nitrous oxide gas help improve depressive symptoms in patients. The unique treatment had an immediate effect on treatment-resistant depression.
A mixture of nitrous oxide, aka “laughing gas”, along with oxygen was used for a single inhalation session. It was found that 25% nitrous oxide gas was nearly as effective as 50% nitrous oxide along with oxygen. It not only rapidly relieved symptoms of treatment-resistant depression, but it also had fewer adverse side effects, very few patients experienced nausea, vomiting, and headaches.
Patients experienced immediate relief that lasted for at least 24 hours. However, in some cases participants experienced improvements for more than two weeks.
Need for medications that work in different ways
Nearly one-third of people suffering from depression don’t respond to standard treatments. But, this finding will encourage other non-traditional treatments as viable options for treatment-resistant depression where standard treatments don’t work.