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The gas rapidly came into widespread use in general anaesthesia and is still used in hospitals throughout the world.
Medical nitrous oxide is used in inhalation anaesthesia in combination with other medicines. Thanks to its pain-killing action, nitrous oxide is also used in combination with oxygen for pain relief, for example in childbirth, ambulance care, dental care and in painful small procedures.
Nitrous oxide is a chemical compound of nitrogen and oxygen. Nitrous oxide, with the chemical formula N2O, is also known as laughing gas. Nitrous oxide has a weak sweetish taste and odour. The gas that is inhaled is a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen.
The nitrous oxide is rapidly taken up by the blood on inhalation. The gas is carried with the blood circulation to the organs of the body that receive and pass on pain impulses, for example the spine and brain. The pain impulses decrease at the same time as the release of endorphins increases.