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Drug mix eases pain of biopsies

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A mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen can be used together with local anaesthetics during painful biopsies in male patients, say nurse researchers.

Bone-marrow biopsies are very common for haematological conditions but despite use of local anaesthetics many patients report them as being painful.

Researchers in Bradford randomised 48 biopsy patients to either a combination of nitrous oxide and oxygen or just oxygen in addition to their local anaesthetic. Results showed that the combination resulted in significantly less pain for men, but not women.

The authors said it ‘may be tentatively recommended for routine use for pain relief in bone-marrow biopsy’.

Journal of Clinical Nursing (2008) 17: 717–725

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