Laughing Gas Shows Promise in Treating Depression
Dec. 10, 2014 — Laughing gas may help treat severe depression, researchers say.
Their study of 20 patients found that nitrous oxide — often used to sedate dental surgery patients — can be a fast-acting and effective treatment for severe depression in people who haven’t responded to antidepressants or other standard therapies, CBS News reported.
Two-thirds of patients who received the gas had significant improvements in their depressive symptoms, compared to one-third of those who were given a placebo, according to the study in the journal Biological Psychiatry.
“The nitrous oxide treatment improved it above and beyond the placebo,” Dr. Peter Nagele, assistant professor of anesthesiology at Washington University’s School of Medicine, said in a podcast, CBS News reported. “This was fairly rapid, so at two hours. But our primary endpoint when we measured everybody — we asked the patients to come back the next day — was sustained to a day.”