Self-administered nitrous oxide: An adjunct analgesic

Neal Flomenbaum, E. John Gallagher, Kathleen Eagen, Sheldon Jacobson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


In a pilot study of 26 patients, a mixture of 50% nitrous oxide and 50% oxygen (N2O-O2) appeared to be an effective and safe analgesic for the incision and drainage of closed-space infections. The analgesic effect of N2O-O2, as measured by a Mean Analgesic Index, is augmented by both amnesic and dissociative effects, ie, patients remembered experiencing significantly less pain than they complained of during the procedure (p < .01) and reported significantly more pain than they appeared to be having, as recorded by an observer (p < .01). The patient's recollected pain, however, correlated well (r = .68) with the observer's assessment. Forty-two percent of patients had undergone a similar or identical procedure in the past without the benefit of N2O-O2 and made uniformly favorable comparative statements concerning the analgesic effect of the gas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-97
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of the American College of Emergency Physicians
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1979


  • nitrous oxide, analgesic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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