Nitrous Oxide-induced Myeloneuropathy Due to Recreational Abuse

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: The recreational use of nitrous oxide (N2O) has increased in recent years with a noticeable surge in the incidence of nitrous oxide-related myeloneuropathy. OBJECTIVES: To raise awareness of increasing myeloneuropathy due to recreational nitrous oxide misuse in Israel. METHODS: We conducted a case series documenting the clinical and investigative features of eight patients presenting with nitrous oxide-induced myeloneuropathy who were admitted to our departments. RESULTS: Paresthesia was the chief complaint in all patients, with sensory gait ataxia being a common feature, which was often accompanied by Romberg's sign and mild lower limb weakness. Vitamin B12 levels were below the normal range in seven patients, accompanied by elevated homocysteine and methylmalonic acid levels. Magnetic resonance imaging scans revealed hyperintense signals in the dorsal columns of the cervical spine. All patients improved following vitamin B12 injections. CONCLUSIONS: Enhancing awareness, prompting the use of appropriate investigations, and advocating for timely treatment are needed to overcome the risks associated with nitrous oxide misuse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)294-298
Number of pages5
JournalIsrael Medical Association Journal
Volume26
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 May 2024

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