Science

[Nitrous Oxide] can ease symptoms of depression in just two hours by acting on a brain chemical with no side-effects, new research suggests

A pilot study involving 20 patients who’d previously not responded to up to 12 different antidepressants found they were significantly more likely to improve with ‘laughing gas’ treatment than those given a placebo gas. The benefits lasted several days.

Now researchers have discovered that nitrous oxide also acts on glutamate, but in a slightly different way, and it is hoped may have fewer side-effects. The pilot study, reported in the journal Biological Psychiatry, compared the effects of a nitrous oxide and oxygen mix against a placebo on patients with depression. The gas was inhaled for around one hour, at a dose level similar to that used by dentists as a sedative. Results from the Washington University study in the U.S. showed that one in three patients, who had previously tried an average of eight antidepressants each without success, responded. Symptoms improved in two hours — whereas conventional antidepressants can take two months to have an effect — and there were no side-effects. Now more than 200 people with different types of depression are being recruited to take part in five clinical trials at the universities of Washington and Chicago and other centres.

Original Article (Daily Mail):
Laughing gas can ease symptoms of depression in just two hours by acting on a brain chemical with no side-effects, new research suggests
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