Peripheral neuropathy following nitrous oxide abuse

Emerg Med Australas. 2010 Feb;22(1):88-90. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-6723.2009.01262.x.


Undifferentiated neurological presentations are not uncommon to the ED. Vitamin B (12) deficiency can lead to progressive demyelination and axonal lesions on the peripheral nerves and cervicothoracic spinal cord causing a peripheral neuropathy. Nitrous oxide is a common adjuvant to anaesthesia in the ED but it not often thought of as a drug of abuse. A case is reported of prolonged and intensive nitrous oxide abuse that resulted in the development of a peripheral neuropathy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nitrous Oxide / adverse effects*
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / complications*


  • Nitrous Oxide