Laughing gas has been used to dull pain in dental offices and maternity units for more than a century, and researchers now think the gas, called Nitrous Oxide, may effectively treat Depression when other therapies have failed. According to the results of a small phase 2 clinical trial, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
Nearly 30% of people diagnosed with major depressive disorder don’t respond to typical treatments, leaving a significant proportion of patients in need of new treatment options. The landscape for those patients began shifting in 2019 when the Food and Drug Administration approved therapy for treatment-resistant Depression based on the anaesthetic ketamine.
Nagele and the other co-authors wanted to know whether those effects were long-lasting, as well as whether a lower dose produce the same results with fewer side effects. The trial included 24 participants. More than 70% were women, 96% were white, and all experienced treatment-resistant Depression. Twenty participants completed the full trial, which involved receiving two doses at 25% and 50% concentrations of Nitrous Oxide and a placebo in a random order over three months. Each session took one hour.Ravi Das, a researching psychopharmacologist at University College London said that the key limitation is that it’s a very small study.