Guide to Demerol
With the variety of pain meds available and strengthening regulations regarding their usage, it’s important to know all you can about anything your doctor may prescribe. Here at YourDrugs.com, we put together this guide to Demerol so you can have a trusted source of information.
Used to treat pain, Demerol is a prescribed medication often given to patients in moderate to severe pain. It is a Schedule II controlled substance that is highly dangerous when taken unprescribed.
This opioid analgesic stops pain signals and helps patients to control their symptoms of pain so they can resume daily activities.
What Is Demerol?
Demerol is essentially a pain medication. It is used to treat both moderate and severe pain in people with chronic occurrences.
It works at the surface of cells to bind pain receptors. It prevents pain signals from being sent to the brain, which means the person taking it will not feel the pain they normally would without this interference.
Other Names for Demerol
Demerol is the most popular brand name. The generic name is meperidine. A doctor may prescribe either version, depending on your insurance coverage and what your pharmacy has available.
These are known as narcotic analgesics. Pethidine is another common name for meperidine. You may see this instead.
Demerol is the common brand you’ll see. You may also be prescribed meperidine, the generic version.
You may see the full name, meperidine hydrochloride as well. There are both tablets and oral solutions. Meperitab is another option you could see. This narcotic has the same risks as Demerol.
What Does Demerol Treat and Who Is It For?
Demerol treats pain. It is for patients who have severe chronic pain who have tried other options that have failed to reduce symptoms. It is intended for patients under the age of 65.
Patients about to undergo a surgery may be prescribed Demerol. It has a shorter time of effect than many other medications, making it ideal for these circumstances. It can enhance the effects of anesthesia.
Patients should not use Demerol long-term or every day. It should only be used as needed when a severe episode of pain persists.
The longer the medication is taken, the higher the chance to develop the most severe side effects as well as addiction to the drug.
What Are the Ingredients In Demerol?
Demerol uses meperidine hydrochloride as its active ingredient. It is comprised of other inactive ingredients as well, such as dibasic calcium phosphate, starch, stearic acid, talc, and calcium sulfate. The tablets have a white appearance with a slightly bitter taste.
Common Demerol Side Effects
There are some common side effects of Demerol that you may experience. Lightheadedness, dizziness, sleepiness, constipation, headache, vomiting, and nausea are all possible.
Side effects often subside after taking a few doses. If they continue, talk with your doctor to see if this medication is right for you.
Other side effects may include:
- Dry mouth
- Feeling flushed
- Unusual thoughts
Some severe and uncommon side effects include hallucinations, severe stomach discomfort, difficulty urinating, fainting, seizures, twitching muscles, mood changes, and vision changes. Speak to your doctor right away if any of these occur.
Each person will have a different Demerol dosage to take. Doses are based on pain severity, tolerance of the patient, weight, age, and more.
Your doctor may start you out on a smaller dose to see how it works for you and how it makes you feel before deciding if a higher dosage is needed.
The 50 mg Demerol dose may be the starting point. The Demerol 100 mg dose is the next step in many cases.
Each of these tablet options is taken orally. Up to 150 mg may be prescribed to a patient who needs a heftier dose to eliminate their pain symptoms, but more than this is not usually given at one time due to the high risks.
Warnings: Before You Take Demerol, Talk to Your Healthcare Provider If:
If you are allergic to meperidine, you should not take Demerol. Allergies to the other ingredients within Demerol would also prevent you from taking this medication.
If you experience any sort of respiratory problems, you should also disclose this with your doctor. They may advise against taking it in that instance.
It is also not usually advised for patients over the age of 65. It is not as effective or safe for older patients. Another pain medication with lower risks would better suffice in this case.
If you have kidney or liver problems, you may be advised to try something different. Though Demerol has not been linked to liver injury, any use of medications in patients with liver or kidney problems still needs to be closely monitored.
People with a tendency to drink alcohol should also avoid taking this medication. The interaction could be extremely dangerous.
If you have abnormal heart rhythms, a seizure disorder, or have taken any MAO inhibitors within the last couple of weeks, you should also disclose these facts to your doctor.
Ask your doctor about Demerol use if you have previously had an addiction to medication or other substances. Suboxone may be a better option.
If you have an enlarged prostate, stomach problems, trouble sleeping, obstructive sleep apnea, an underactive thyroid, or suffered a recent head injury you also want to discuss these things with your doctor.
How Should You Take Demerol?
There are two types of Demerol medications. The first is a tablet form. These typically come in 50 or 100-mg doses.
You may take the medication every three to four hours as needed for pain, or as otherwise instructed by your doctor. Demerol can be taken with or without food, though those with side effects may want to try it with food instead to see if that helps their symptoms subside.
The second option is a liquid form. This is not prescribed as often as the tablets, but it is available in some circumstances.
Liquid Demerol should be mixed into a 4-ounce glass of water and drank quickly. Mixing with water will prevent mouth numbness.
There used to be an injectable version, but that has since been discontinued.
How Much Demerol Can You Take in One Day?
It is not advisable to take more than 600 mg of Demerol in one day. Patients are often not prescribed more than 150 mg in one dose, which means it can be taken up to four times in one day. Smaller doses may be taken more, but should never exceed the three to four-hour interval.
Demerol Addiction Risks
There is a very high risk of becoming addicted to Demerol. Because of the risks of respiratory problems and death, it is not advised to take this medication more than prescribed by your doctor.
Never take a higher Demerol dose than what is prescribed, consult your doctor if you feel like the medication is not working for you.
Demerol Interactions: What Should You Avoid Taking With Demerol?
Never drink alcohol when taking Demerol. Alcohol use when taking this medication can not only cause delayed reactions and impaired thinking, but it can even lead to death if too much is consumed.
It is best to read labels on food and medicine as well, as even trace amounts of alcohol can even lead to a poor reaction.
It is also advised to avoid other pain medications and narcotics. Do not take any sedatives, muscle relaxers, tranquilizers, or other medications that cause drowsiness.
The mix of the two may cause serious impairment, extreme sleepiness, and slow your breathing to dangerous levels.
Antidepressants and other medications can also cause interactions. Ask your doctor if you are on any of these medications to ensure Demerol would be sufficient for you.
Antipsychotics and sedatives are sometimes included in this category. Benzodiazepine is one medication that should not be mixed with Demerol unless otherwise stated by a doctor.
Other particular medicines you should avoid are Liposomal morphine, Nardil, Matulane, Marplan, Parnate, Zyvox, Talwin, Karbinal ER, and potassium citrate. Also, avoid taking Demerol if you’re on drugs that contain ritonavir.
These include Norvir, Veikira Pak, and Kaletra.
Certain Parkinson’s medications can also cause interference with the effectiveness of Demerol. Emsam, Zelapar, and Eldepryl are some of those that cause interactions.
Surprisingly, grapefruit juice should also be avoided. Both eating grapefruit and drinking any version of grapefruit juice is not recommended because it slows down the body’s ability to break down Demerol.
The concentration of Demerol in the blood would be far too high, causing the most severe side effects and risks.
Demerol Withdrawal Symptoms
When going through Demerol withdrawal after stopping the medication, you may feel anxious and get easily agitated. It is also common to feel paranoid and restless. You may experience trouble sleeping.
Common side effects of Demerol withdrawal, as well as many other medications and substances, include:
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle aches
- Dry mouth
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
- High blood pressure
You can even experience hallucinations and see and hear things that are not really there. You can start to feel any number of symptoms within just a few hours after stopping your medication, but it can take up to 24 hours before some people start to notice any changes.
Your symptoms should peak after a few days but could last up to two weeks.
A detox program is often recommended for anyone going through withdrawal. This gives you a safe space to withdraw and go through the symptoms with no proximity to the medication.
Many attempting at home often resort to using the medication again after they’ve experienced terrible symptoms that they no longer want to feel. Those who do try at home should have someone available to help them.
Demerol Efficacy: What Does Demerol Do for Your Symptoms
Demerol is a highly effective drug that works to reduce symptoms of pain. Instead of simply blocking pain receptors as some other pain medications do, Demerol also produces a “high” feeling.
It allows patients to feel that instead of the pain they otherwise would be experiencing. It will mask your symptoms and make you feel good instead.
Demerol and Pregnancy
Extended use of Demerol during pregnancy can lead to neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome. This means your unborn child will feel these effects and could face serious consequences because of them.
This can include effects to their central nervous system.
Expectant mothers who take opioids during pregnancy are less likely to obtain proper care for themselves and their unborn child. There is also a higher risk of placental abruption leading to fetal demise.
Extreme Demerol use could cause growth restriction, maternal hypertension, and preterm labor. Anyone taking this medication and hoping to become pregnant should speak to their doctor about their options and be sure to receive prenatal care to ensure the safety and well-being of themselves and their unborn child.
The FDA shows US Pharm Holdings as the associated maker of Demerol. It was originally manufactured by Sanofi Aventis in the mid-1900s. Validus Pharmaceuticals Inc has also been associated with the Schedule II drug.
FDA Approval of Demerol
The FDA originally approved Demerol for use in 1942. It was manufactured by Sanofi Aventis but has changed hands since then. Demerol has the drug identification number 005010.
The FDA approval still stands, though the use by doctors has gotten smaller over the years. There are other medications more commonly prescribed due to the severe risks of taking Demerol for more than a couple of days at a time.
Related Drugs or Medications
Suboxone is one related medication. It is also used to treat pain. However, this medication is often used to treat addiction to narcotic pain relievers. You may be prescribed this medication if you have a Demerol addiction you need to recover from.
Other medicines similar to Demerol include Dilaudid, morphine, methadone, fentanyl, oxycodone, and hydromorphone. Each of these acts as a painkiller to alleviate the pain patients feel on a daily basis.
Certain risk factors may prohibit one patient from receiving a particular kind of medication and needing another. There are different risks and side effects for each.
Age, the reason for needing the medication, duration of pain, and more all play a factor in determining which option is best for you.
Demerol is an effective drug, but it needs to be taken carefully. Always talk with your doctor about the best options for your body and ensure you are following the correct dosage.
Recovering from Demerol addiction can be extremely difficult.