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Br Med J. 1969 Aug 2;3(5665):259-62.

Methoxyflurane and nitrous oxide as obstetric analgesics. II. A comparison by self-administered intermittent inhalation.


Methoxyflurane (0.35%) in air and nitrous oxide/oxygen (50%/50%) self-administered intermittently in the usual way have been compared as analgesics for labour. There were 25 patients in each group. Objective assessment by an anaesthetist showed that methoxyflurane is the more effective analgesic, and this was supported by the opinion of the multiparae. Nausea and vomiting were significantly less with methoxyflurane. Fifty per cent. nitrous oxide in oxygen given intermittently does not appear to be the best analgesic concentration. Nevertheless, since a considerable variation in sensitivity exists, it would probably be unwise to consider the introduction of higher concentrations for use by unsupervised midwives.This trial confirms the predictions made by us using a method for screening inhalational analgesics, in which methoxyflurane and nitrous oxide were given continuously.

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