Nitrous oxide, when given by a healthcare professional, rarely has any bothersome side effects. Aside from irritating the throat and lungs, nitrous oxide can cause nosebleeds, coughing spells or inflammation to the breathing passages. However, if it is being abused, nitrous oxide can cause people to be physically uncoordinated and unable to function mentally. In high doses, nitrous oxide can cause hallucination, confusion and paranoia. It also can cause asphyxiation, decreased consciousness, coma or even death, especially when combined with alcohol or barbiturates, such as sleeping pills. Long-term effects of nitrous oxide abuse can cause impared memory, severe mood swings, seizures, tremors, arrhythmias of the heart and possible respiratory depression.
- Q Does nitrous oxide interact with other medications or foods?
- Q Who should not receive nitrous oxide?
- Q Should my child receive nitrous oxide?
- Q How soon after taking nitrous oxide will I feel its effects?
- Q Should I drive after receiving nitrous oxide?
- Q How is nitrous oxide used in tubal ligations or tubectomies?