Trial conducted in Missouri shows laughing gas improves severe depression symptoms

ST. LOUIS,MO — There’s new hope for people with severe depression constantly hitting walls with finding treatment.

A clinical trial conducted at Washington University shows a one-hour treatment of breathing in a low dose of laughing gas can improve symptoms of depression for people that have had no success with other antidepressant treatments.

“A large percentage of patients don’t respond to standard antidepressant therapies — the patients in this study had failed an average of 4.5 antidepressant trials — and it’s very important to find therapies to help these patients,” said professor Charles R. Conway in a Wash U news release. “That we saw rapid improvements in many such patients in the study suggests nitrous oxide may help people with really severe, resistant depression.”

The initial trial was only 24 participants but researchers at Wash U would like to see a larger scale study conducted sometime within the next year. <a href=”https://medicine.wustl.edu/news/laughing-gas-relieves-symptoms-in-people-with-treatment-resistant-depression/” target=”_blank”>Click here</a> to learn more about the trial.