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Generical name: meperidine meperidine me-PER-i-deen me-PER-i-deen
Drug class: opioids (narcotic analgesics)

What is Demerol?

Demerol can be described as an opioid painkiller. Sometimes, opioids are referred to as narcotics. Demerol is a powerful prescription pain medication that is utilized to help manage short-term relief pain in cases where other pain treatment options, like non-opioid pain medications, don't alleviate your pain enough or you are not able to tolerate them. Careless use of Demerol may increase the risk of overdose and even death. Even if you are taking the dose as directed, you could be at risk of addiction to opioids, abuse, and misuse that could result in death.


It is best not to use Demerol if you suffer from severe breathing issues or asthma.

Do not take Demerol if you've used an MAO inhibitor within the last fourteen days, like isocarboxazid linezolid, the methylene blue injection, phenelzine rasagiline, selegiline, or tranylcypromine. Demerol may slow or stop breathing and can become a habit-forming drug. A misuse of this medication could result in addiction, overdose, or even death, particularly for a child or another patient who is taking the medicine without a prescription. The use of this medication during pregnancy could result in withdrawal symptoms that could be life-threatening for the infant. The risk of fatal side effects could be experienced if you take Demerol in combination with alcohol or other substances that can cause drowsiness or a slowing of breathing.

Before using this medication

It is not recommended to make use of Demerol in the event that you are allergic to meperidine or you are:

  • Extremely severe asthma or breathing issues or
  • Obstruction in your stomach or the intestines.

Don't use Demerol in the event that you've used an MAO inhibitor within the past 14 days. A potentially dangerous interaction between drugs could occur. MAO inhibitors are isocarboxazid linezolid, methylene blue injection rasagiline and phenelzine, tranylcypromine, and many others.

To be sure Demerol is suitable for you, ask your physician if you've ever experienced:

  • A head injury, brain tumor, or seizures;
  • Breathing issues sleep apnea
  • Addiction to alcohol or drugs, or mental illness
  • A blockage in the stomach or intestines of your body;
  • Urination issues;
  • Kidney disease or liver failure;
  • Issues with your gallbladder, thyroid gland, or adrenal gland;
  • Sickle cell anemia or
  • Spinal curvature that is abnormal and can affect breathing.

If you take Demerol during pregnancy, your baby may become dependent on this drug. This can cause severe withdrawal symptoms for the infant after it is born. Babies born dependent on opioids may need medical treatment for several weeks. Don't breastfeed when taking Demerol. Meperidine can enter the breast milk and result in breathing difficulties, drowsiness, or even death in the nursing infant.

Rrelated drugs

Aspirin, acetaminophen, tramadol, naproxen, oxycodone, tylenol, and diazepam

How to take Demerol?

Use Demerol exactly as directed by your physician. Follow the instructions on your prescription label, and go through all the medication manuals. Do not take meperidine in greater quantities or for longer than what is prescribed. Inform your physician if you have a strong urge to take a greater dose of this medication.

Demerol can cause dependence even in regular doses. Don't share this medicine with anyone else, particularly one with an addiction history to drugs or addiction. A faulty use of Demerol can cause an overdose, addiction, or the death of a child or another person taking the medicine without a prescription. The sale or distribution of this medicine is a violation of the law.

Demerol tablets can be taken orally. Demerol injections are administered as an infusion into veins or injections into muscles or beneath the skin. Your healthcare professional can administer the injection.

Don't stop taking this medication suddenly following prolonged use, or you could experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Discuss with your physician how you can prevent withdrawal symptoms after you stop taking this medication.

Do not crush or break the Demerol tablet in order to inhale the powder, or mix it with liquid and inject this drug into your vein. This has led to death due to the use and abuse of prescribed medications. Keep it at room temperature, far from heat and moisture. Make a note of the quantity of medication that you take from each bottle. Meperidine is a medication of abuse, and you should be aware of anyone taking your medication improperly or without a prescription.

Don't store any of your leftover Demerol tablets. A single dose may cause death for someone who is using the medicine in error or unintentionally. Ask your pharmacist for a recycling program for takeback. If there isn't a taking-back plan, then flush the empty tablets into the toilet. The flushing of medications is suggested to decrease the risk of accidental overdoses that can cause death. This is a recommendation for the smallest amount of drugs. The FDA, in conjunction with the company, decided this to be the most efficient method of disposal, as well as presenting the lowest risk to human health.

Details on dosage

Usual Adult Dose for Pain:

50 to 150 mg taken orally every 3–4 hours as required
Maximum dose: 600 mg per day.

50–150 mg IM or subcutaneously every 3–4 hours if needed. IM administration is recommended in cases where repeated doses are required.
The solution can be administered intravenously. However, smaller doses are suggested, and the administration should be slow, preferring a dilute solution.

Patient-Controlled Analgesia (PCA):
Initial dose: 10 mg, with a range of 1–5 mg for each incremental dose. The lockout period is 6–10 min, and the dose is adjusted according to the response of the patient.
For continuous IV infusions, the standard adult dosage is between 15 and 35 mg/hour.

Use: To treat the symptoms of pain that are severe enough to require an opioid and for which conventional treatment options are not sufficient.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Pain:

Initial dosage: 1.1 to 1.8 mg/kg orally every 3–4 hours, as needed.
Maximum single dose: 50 to 150 mg
Maximum daily dose: 600 mg

The initial dose is 1.1 or 1.8 mg/kg IM or subcutaneously every 3–4 hours if needed. IM administration is recommended in cases where repeated doses are needed.
Maximum single dose: 50 to 150 mg

It can be administered via IV. However, lower doses are suggested, and the administration should be slow, preferably with a diluted solution.

The American Pain Society (APS) is not recommending this medication be employed as an analgesic for infants, children, or those suffering from acute vasoocclusive discomfort that is caused by sickle-cell disease.
Due to the risk of addiction, abuse as well as misuse of this medication should only be used in patients whose other treatment options haven't been accepted, aren't expected to be accepted, haven't provided sufficient analgesia, or aren't considered to be able to provide adequate analgesia.
This medication should not be used to treat chronic pain.

Use: To manage the effects of pain that is severe enough to warrant an opioid analgesic and for which conventional treatment options are not sufficient.

Do I be concerned if I miss a dose?

Because demerol is used to treat pain, you're not likely to skip a dose. Do not miss any doses when it's time to take your next dose. Do not take two doses at once.

What will happen if I take excessively?

Get medical attention immediately, or make a call for help at the Poison Help Line at 1-800-222-1222. An overdose of meperidine can cause death, especially for a child or another patient who is taking the medication without a prescription. Overdose symptoms may include slow breathing and heart rate, intense fatigue and muscle weakening, cold and clammy skin and lips, blue-colored skin and lips, fainting, or a coma.

What should be avoided?

Do not consume alcohol. Dangerous side effects or even death could occur if meperidine is mixed with alcohol.

Avoid driving and other hazardous activities until you understand what the effects of this medicine are on you. The feeling of dizziness or drowsiness could result in accidents, falls, or even serious injuries.

Side effects of Demerol

Take immediate medical attention. If you are experiencing symptoms that indicate an allergic reaction, Demerol: hives, breathing difficulties, and swelling of your lips, face, or tongue. Opioid medication can cause a slowing or stopping of your breathing, and even death could occur. The person who is caring for you must seek urgent medical attention if you experience prolonged breathing, pauses in your breathing, blue-colored lips, or if it is difficult to get back up.

Stop taking this medicine and consult your physician immediately if you suffer from:

  • Slow heartbeats, shallow or weak breathing, or breathing that ceases while sleeping;
  • Severe drowsiness, feeling like you might pass out;
  • Changes in mood, confusion
  • Severe constipation that is severe;
  • Tremors, muscle movements that you can't control, seizures (convulsions) or
  • Low levels of cortisol low cortisol levels, vomiting, nausea, decreased appetite, fatigue, dizziness, or weakness.

Get medical attention now if you are experiencing symptoms of serotonin disorder, for example: agitation, hallucinations, fever, sweating, shivering, high heart rate, muscle stiffness and twitching, loss of coordination, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Risky side effects are more common in older people and those who suffer from debilitation or malnutrition.

Opioid medication used for long periods can alter the fertility (ability to have kids) of women or men. It is unclear if the effects of opioids on fertility are permanent.

Common demerol adverse effects could be:

  • Dizziness, drowsiness;
  • Headache;
  • Nausea, vomiting, or

This is not a comprehensive list of possible side effects, and other side effects could occur. Consult your physician for advice regarding medical adverse effects. You can report any side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Interaction with other drugs

It is possible to experience breathing issues or withdrawal symptoms if you take or stop taking other medicines. Tell your doctor whether you're also taking an antibiotic, antifungal medicine, blood pressure or heart medicine, medication for seizures, or medication to treat HIV as well as hepatitis C.

Opioid medicine may interact with other drugs, causing serious side effects or even death. Be sure your doctor is aware if you are taking:

  • Other narcotic drugs like opioid pain medication and prescription medicine for cough
  • A sedative similar to valium is diazepam, alprazolam, xanax ativan, lorazepam klonopin, versed, and other sedatives;
  • Drugs that can make you feel sleepy or cause breathing to slow a sleep pill, muscle relaxer, medication to treat mental or mood disorders, as well as
  • Medications that alter serotonin levels within your body. Stimulants, or medicines for parkinson's disease, depression, migraine headaches, severe illnesses, nausea, or vomiting.

This list is not comprehensive. Other medications may interact with meperidine. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. The interactions may not be mentioned here.