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Medical nitrous oxide is used as an anaesthetic and analgesic agent:

  • It acts synergistically when combined with other inhaled or intravenous anaesthetic agents.

  • It has little effect on respiration and circulation during anaesthesia.

  • Its rapid ‘wash-in’ (uptake) and ‘wash-out’ (fast elimination) allows faster emergence when used with a modern inhaled anaesthetic than when the anaesthetic is used alone.