Nitrous Oxide

March 21, 2017

Nitrous Oxide inhalation gas

What is nitrous oxide inhalation gas?

NITROUS OXIDE is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, nonflammable, and non-irritating gas used for general anesthesia during surgery. Nitrous oxide provide pain relief during vaginal delivery. Nitrous oxide is a powerful pain reliever and a weak anesthetic (producing loss of consciousness and feeling). Generic nitrous oxide is available.

What should my health care professional know before I receive nitrous oxide?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • head injury

  • brain tumor

  • lung cysts or other problems

  • ear problems

  • stomach problems

  • kidney cysts

  • an unusual or allergic reaction to nitrous oxide, or other anesthetics

  • pregnant

  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

Nitrous oxide is given through inhalation (breathing the gas into the lungs) by trained anesthesia professionals in a controlled environment like an operating room before and during surgery or procedures. Since there is no one ideal general anesthetic, a combination of drugs that are either injected or inhaled are typically used.

What if I miss a dose?

This does not apply.

What drug(s) may interact with nitrous oxide?

  • alcohol

  • amiodarone

  • barbiturate medicines for inducing sleep or treating seizures (convulsions)

  • herbal products, including St. John's wort

  • medicines for anxiety or sleeping problems, such as diazepam or temazepam

  • medicines for colds, breathing difficulties, or weight loss

  • medicines for high blood pressure

  • medicines for pain

  • theophylline

  • warfarin

Tell your prescriber or health care professional about all other medicines you are taking, including non-prescription medicines, nutritional supplements, or herbal products. Also tell your prescriber or health care professional if you are a frequent user of drinks with caffeine or alcohol, if you smoke, or if you use illegal drugs. These may affect the way your medicine works. Tell your prescriber or health care professional before stopping or starting any of your medicines.

What should I watch for while taking nitrous oxide?

Your condition will be closely monitored while you receive nitrous oxide.

The effects of nitrous oxide generally wear off in a few hours. However, nitrous oxide can affect your ability to drive or do anything that needs mental alertness. Do not attempt to drive yourself home if you have received nitrous oxide for minor outpatient surgery. You may feel dizzy and lightheaded. To reduce the risk of dizzy or fainting spells, do not sit up or stand up quickly, especially if you are an older patient. Alcohol can make you more drowsy or dizzy, avoid alcoholic drinks for at least 24 hours after you receive nitrous oxide.

What side effects may I notice from receiving nitrous oxide?

Most side effects with nitrous oxide are only transitory. Serious side effects include:

  • disorientation or hallucinations (seeing and hearing things that are not really there)

  • fever, chills, or sore throat

  • irregular heartbeat

  • slow or difficult breathing

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your prescriber or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • drowsiness, dizziness

  • headache

  • nausea, vomiting

  • shivering, or trembling

Where can I keep my medicine?

Storage requirements do not apply.


March 21, 2017


U.S. FDA-approved Package Insert