Demerol side effects and drug information

Demerol or Meperidine is a drug that is used to treat moderate to severe kinds of pain. It is often used before or during a surgical procedure. It is a kind of drug that belongs to opioid analgesics and is highly likened to Morphine.

ChemSpider ID 3918
ChEMBL Id 607
ChemSpider ID 3918
CAS ID 57-42-1
Molar mass 247.33 g/mol
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 It works on the brain to treat pain signals to adjust the way the body reacts and responds to pain. Demerol may not be used to treat any ongoing or long-term preexisting pain. It must only be used to treat moderate to severe and sudden pain and heart attacks.

What is Demerol?

Demerol a.k.a. Meperidine is a kind of opioid pain medication or analgesic. It is also known as a narcotic. This is regarded as a very strong pain prescription medication that is used to manage the relief from short term and sudden pain, where other non-opioid pain medications like wormwood are unable to treat your pain. But, the inappropriate use of Demerol can place someone at risk of a drug overdose, or worse, death. 

Side Effects

The most common side effects of Demerol are as follows:

The most known and common side effects of this drug are nausea, sweating, dizziness, drowsiness, redness at the injection site, vomiting, constipation, etc. If these occur and worsen, call your doctor for medical assistance. 

To avoid constipation from Demerol use, supplement with fiber-rich food, drink ample amounts of water, and exercise. You can also take some laxatives to lessen the symptoms. Ask your doctor for the laxative that is best for you.

To avoid any drowsiness, nausea, or lightheadedness, get up very slowly when you go up from a lying or sitting position. Your physician has prescribed Demerol because he deemed it necessary, and he knows that the benefits surpass any risk of side effects as loss of vision. Many people have used Demerol without experiencing any of the serious side effects such as sexual problems.

Inform your physician right away if you have experienced any severe side effects like; sleep apnea, mood changes, chances of agitation, interrupted breathing, feel stomach pain, difficulty urinating, hallucinations, tremors, blurry vision, loss of appetite, weight loss, tiredness, or adrenal gland problems, etc. 

Stay away from Demerol, if you have allergies to Meperidine, or if you have –

Avoid and or stop using Demerol if you have utilized any medication that is an MAO inhibitor for the past two weeks. A hazardous interaction can happen. MAO inhibitors can comprise of :

  • Linezolid
  • Methylene Blue injection
  • Rasagiline
  • Selegiline
  • Phenelzine
  • Tranylcypromine

To know if Demerol is right and safe for you, always inform your physician if you have had:

  • Sleep apnea
  • Breathing problems
  • Head injury
  • Brain tumor
  • Seizures
  • Mental illness
  • Drug or alcohol problems
  • Problems urinating
  • Blockage in the intestine or pain in stomach
  • Liver problem
  • Kidney disease
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Gall bladder issues
  • Adrenal or thyroid gland problems
  • An unusual curvature of the spine when breathing

When you use Demerol while you are pregnant, the baby can become drug dependent. It can lead to a life-endangering withdrawal effect on the baby after its birth. Babies that were born dependent on opioids may need immediate medical attention for weeks. Never breastfeed when using Demerol. Demerol can pass into breast milk and lead to some breathing problems, drowsiness, and worse, death on nursing babies. 

Dosage and Administration

Here is the proper dosing for adult use of Demerol for pain and other related ailments:

Recommended adult dosage for pain

Oral use

Fifty milligrams to 150 milligrams every 3 to 4 hours or as needed. The maximum dosage per day is 600 milligrams. 

PCA or Patient Controlled Analgesia use

The first dose is 10 milligrams, with a range of 1 to 5 milligrams for every incremental dose. Do not use for 6 to 10 minutes, then adjust the dosage depending on the patient’s response to the drug. For intravenous infusion, the dosage for adult use is 15 milligrams to 35 milligrams per hour. 

Parenteral use

The dosage for parenteral use is 50 milligrams to 150 milligrams subcutaneously or IM for every 3 to 4 hours or as needed. The administration IM is best when Demerol repeated use is required. It may be administered intravenously, but when lower doses are needed, it must be in a diluted solution and administered slow.

For pain management of severe pain, it is sufficient to need an opioid analgesic only when alternative treatments are insufficient and unable to treat pain.

Using Demerol Vial

Demerol, in this case, is administered through an injection to the vein, to the muscle, or under the skin as directed by the physician.

When you are administering the medication at home, all by yourself, you have to learn first hand the correct usage and preparation from your physician. Before you use it, check the product for any discoloration or diluted particles. If there are some present, refrain from using it. But, know how you can safely discard medical supplies properly.

Whenever Demerol is administered to the vein, it is given rather very slowly to avoid any serious side effects. When this medication is given under the skin or muscle, it is important that you change the injection site every time to prevent any injury or trauma to the skin. Do not lie down when the injection is administered as it can result in drowsiness

Dosage is always based on your medical condition and response to the Demerol treatment. Never attempt to increase your dose, use it more often, or for longer than the one prescribed by your doctor as your risk for serious side effects is very likely. Stop the medication altogether if you experience any severe side effects. 

Demerol and other pain medications function best if used when you experience first signs of pain. If you wait until such a time when the pain becomes hard to bear, the medication will not work as effectively as expected. 

Do not stop using Demerol abruptly. Doing so can lead to withdrawal, especially for those who have used it for an extended period and in very high doses. To avoid withdrawal, your physician will require to lower the dose very slowly. Inform the physician immediately if you experience any withdrawal symptoms like mood changes, problems sleeping, anxiety, restlessness, thought of suicide, nausea, runny nose, watering eyes, muscle aches, diarrhea, and any abrupt mood or behavior changes. 

Drug Interaction

The interaction of certain drugs can change how your medication works or increase your susceptibility to certain side effects. This does not contain an all-inclusive drug interactions list. It is vital to have a list of all the products you use – prescription or non-prescription, including herbal products. That way, your doctor will know when to reduce, stop, or modify the dosage of your medication. 

Some medicines can interact with Demerol like pain medications that have opioid agonist-antagonists like butorphanol, naltrexone, nalbuphine, and pentazocine. 

Do not take Demerol with any MAO inhibitors as it can lead to dangerous drug interaction. Stay away from MAO inhibitors like methylene blue, isocarboxazid, phenelzine, rasagiline, procarbazine, safinamide, selegiline, tranylcypromine, and moclobemide. MAO inhibitors must not be taken for two weeks before treatment with Demerol. Inquire with your physician if you should start or stop taking certain medications with Demerol. 

Warnings and Precautions

The severe side effects can be heightened like slow breathing, feel dizziness, severe drowsiness, or more if Demerol is used with other products or drugs that can also lead to breathing problems or drowsiness. Ask your doctor or nurse if you are taking other opioid pain reliever or cough medicines like hydrocodone, alcohol, codeine, marijuana, or medication for anxiety or sleeping problems like lorazepam, zolpidem, or alprazolam. Also, do not take Demerol with antihistamines like cetirizine, diphenhydramine, or muscle relaxants like cyclobenzaprine, or carisoprodol.

Always check product labels for medications used for allergies or cough and cold, as they usually contain ingredients that can cause drowsiness. Ask your doctor about it before you use Demerol or apply it for your treatment. 

Overdose and Contraindications

Do not delay and immediately look for medical help when you overdose with Demerol. Demerol overdose can be life-threatening, especially when the person is using it without any prescription. The overdose symptoms can include low heart rate, slow breathing, cold and clammy skin, muscle weakness, severe drowsiness, fainting, coma, and bluish skin or lips. 

When someone has overdosed with and has severe symptoms like passing out or trouble breathing, have them take Naloxone, and call a doctor. If he is awake but has bot symptoms, call 911 or the nearest poison control department. The symptoms of Demerol overdose can be fatal such as server drowsiness, slow breathing, and worse – coma. 

Never attempt to share Demerol with others, even if they are symptoms similar to yours. The sharing of prescription drugs is prohibited by law. 

Demerol is a medication that has been prescribed for your medical condition only. Never attempt to use it later for a different condition, unless your physician directs you so. A different medication may be prescribed for your medical condition.