Meperidine (Demerol)

Important information regarding this narcotic analgesic drug.
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Demerol

What Should I Know About Meperidine?

Do not stop taking Demerol suddenly without first talking to your doctor.

Demerol may be habit forming. Physical and/or psychological dependence can occur, and withdrawal effects are possible if the medication is stopped suddenly after prolonged or high-dose treatment. Do not stop taking Demerol suddenly without first talking to your doctor if you have been taking it continuously for more than 5 to 7 days. Your doctor may want to gradually reduce the dose.

Meperidine may increase the effects of other drugs that cause drowsiness, including other pain relievers, alcohol, antihistamines, sedatives (used to treat insomnia), antidepressants, anxiety medicines, and muscle relaxants. Tell your doctor about all medicines that you are taking, and do not take any medicine without first talking to your doctor.

This drug may cause constipation. Drink plenty of water (six to eight full glasses a day) to lessen this side effect. Increasing the amount of fiber in the diet can also help to alleviate constipation. Never take more Demerol than is prescribed. If the pain is not being adequately treated, talk to your doctor.

What Is Demerol?

Demerol is in a class of drugs called narcotic analgesics and is used to treat moderate-to-severe pain. It may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What Should I Discuss With My Healthcare Provider Before Taking Meperidine?

Meperidine may be habit forming and should only be used under close supervision if there is a history of alcohol or drug addiction. Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you have:

  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Asthma
  • Urinary retention
  • An enlarged prostate
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Seizures or epilepsy
  • Gallbladder disease
  • A head injury
  • Addison's disease

 

You may not be able to take Demerol, or you may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during treatment if you have any of the conditions listed above. This drug may cause addiction and withdrawal symptoms as well as other harmful effects in an unborn baby. Do not take Demerol without first talking to your doctor if you are pregnant or could become pregnant during treatment.

Demerol may also cause addiction and withdrawal symptoms in a nursing infant. Do not take Demerol without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How Should I Take Meperidine?

Take Demerol exactly as directed by your doctor. If you do not understand these directions, ask your pharmacist, nurse, or doctor to explain them to you. Take each dose with a full glass of water and with food or milk if it causes stomach upset.

To ensure that you get a correct dose, measure the syrup with a special dose-measuring spoon or cup, not with a regular tablespoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist where you can get one.

Meperidine is also available as an injection. Your healthcare provider will administer injectable Demerol. If you are using injectable Demerol at home, your healthcare provider will give you detailed instructions regarding preparation, administration, and storage of the medication.

Demerol may be habit forming. Physical and/or psychological dependence can occur, and withdrawal effects are possible if the medication is stopped suddenly after prolonged or high-dose treatment. Do not stop taking Demerol suddenly without first talking to your doctor if you have been taking it continuously for more than 5 to 7 days. Your doctor may want to gradually reduce the dose.

This drug may cause constipation so drink plenty of water (six to eight full glasses a day) to lessen this side effect. Increasing the amount of fiber in the diet can also help to alleviate constipation. Do not share this medication with anyone else and store Demerol at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What Happens If I Overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if an overdose is suspected. Symptoms of a Meperidine overdose include slow breathing, seizures, dizziness, weakness, loss of consciousness, coma, confusion, tiredness, cold and clammy skin, and small pupils.

What Should I Avoid While Taking Meperidine?

Use caution when driving, operating machinery, or performing other hazardous activities. Demerol may cause drowsiness. If you experience drowsiness, avoid these activities. Avoid alcohol while taking Demerol. Alcohol may increase the drowsiness and dizziness caused by Demerol and could be dangerous.

Demerol may increase the effects of other drugs that cause drowsiness, including other pain relievers, alcohol, antihistamines, sedatives (used to treat insomnia), antidepressants, anxiety medicines, and muscle relaxants. Tell your doctor about all medicines that you are taking, and do not take any medicine without first talking to your doctor.

Possible Side Effects Of Taking Demerol

If you experience any of the following serious side effects, stop taking Demerol and seek emergency medical attention or contact your doctor immediately:

  • An allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; swelling of the lips, tongue, or face; or hives)
  • Slow, weak breathing
  • Seizures
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Severe weakness or dizziness
  • Unconsciousness

 

Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Continue to take Demerol and talk to your doctor if you experience:

  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, or decreased appetite
  • Dizziness, tiredness, or lightheadedness
  • Muscle twitches
  • Sweating
  • Itching
  • Decreased urination
  • Decreased sex drive

 

Demerol may be habit forming. Physical and/or psychological dependence can occur, and withdrawal effects are possible if the medication is stopped suddenly after prolonged or high-dose treatment. Do not stop taking Demerol suddenly without first talking to your doctor if you have been taking it continuously for more than 5 to 7 days. Your doctor may want to gradually reduce the dose.