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Nitrous Oxide

    Synonyms: Dinitrogenii oxidum; dinitrogen monoxide; E942; laughing gas; nitrogen monoxide.

    Description: Nitrous oxide is a nonflammable, colorless and odorless, sweettasting gas. It is usually handled as a compressed gas, stored in metal cylinders.

    Chemical Name: Dinitrogen oxide

    Aerosol propellant; therapeutic agent.

    • Nitrous oxide and other compressed gases such as carbon dioxide and nitrogen are used as propellants for topical pharmaceutical aerosols.

    • They are also used in other aerosol products that work satisfactorily with the coarse aerosol spray that is produced with compressed gases, e.g. furniture polish and window cleaner.

    • The advantages of compressed gases as aerosol propellants are that they are less expensive, of low toxicity, and practically odorless and tasteless.

    • In contrast to liquefied gases, their pressures change relatively little with temperature.

    • However, there is no reservoir of propellant in the aerosol, and as a result the pressure decreases as the product is used, changing the spray characteristics.

    • Misuse of a product by the consumer, such as using a product inverted, results in the discharge of the vapor phase instead of the liquid phase. Since most of the propellant is contained in the vapor phase, some of the propellant will be lost and the spray characteristics will be altered.

    • Additionally, the sprays produced using compressed gases are very wet. However, recent developments in valve technology have reduced the risk of misuse by making available valves which will spray only the product (not propellant) regardless of the position of the container.

    • Additionally, barrier systems will also prevent loss of propellant, and have found increased use with this propellant.

    • Therapeutically, nitrous oxide is best known as an anesthetic administered by inhalation.

    • When used as an anesthetic it has strong analgesic properties but produces little muscle relaxation.

    • Nitrous oxide is always administered in conjunction with oxygen since on its own it is hypoxic.

    Generally compatible with most materials encountered in pharmaceutical formulations and food products.

    Nitrogen is generally regarded as a nontoxic and nonirritant material. However, it is an asphyxiant and inhalation of large quantities is therefore hazardous

    Handle in accordance with procedures for handling metal cylinders containing liquefied or compressed gases. Eye protection, gloves, and protective clothing are recommended. Nitrogen is an asphyxiant and should be handled in a well-ventilated environment.

    Carbon dioxide; nitrous oxide.