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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. Spontaneous breathing is preserved more effectively by using the combination of medical nitrous oxide and any of the commonly used inhaled anaesthetics rather than when using only a potent inhaled anaesthetic.
Its rapid ‘wash-in’ (uptake) and ‘wash-out’ (fast elimination) together with its ability to maintain spontaneous respiration allow faster emergence when used with a modern inhaled anaesthetic than when the anaesthetic is used alone.