1 What is Demerol?

Brand: Demerol

Generic: Meperidine

Demerol injection is a narcotic analgesic used for the relief of moderate to severe pain. This drug acts on the central nervous system to relieve pain.

Prolonged use of narcotic drugs can cause mental or physical dependence. People who have continuing pain should not let the fear of dependence keep them from using narcotics to relieve their pain.

Mental dependence is not likely to occur when narcotics are used clinically. Physical dependence may lead to withdrawal side effects but it can be prevented when the dose is slowly tapered over a period of time before treatment is stopped completely. This drug requires a prescription.

2 What to Know Before Using

Before using Demerol, you must know all about the risks and complications associated with it. Inform your healthcare provider for any allergic reactions to these drugs or any other drugs, foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. Carefully read the label of non-prescription drugs for any possible allergic reaction or contraindications. 

Studies in children regarding the relationship of age to the effects of meperidine injection have not been performed while safety and efficacy have not been established. Data on the relationship of age to the effects of meperidine injection in geriatric patients are still unavailable. Adjustments in the dose of the elderly may be required since they are more likely to have age-related kidney or liver problems. 

Adverse effects have been reported in animal studies but studies in pregnant women or animals are still inadequate. Infant risk is still undetermined when using this drug during breastfeeding. Discuss with your healthcare professional about the potential risks and benefits of taking this drug while breastfeeding. 

Drugs should not be taken together to prevent any interactions but in necessary cases inquire your healthcare provider regarding the adjustments in dosage or any other necessary precautions to prevent any unwanted side effects. Inform your healthcare professional if you are taking any other prescription and nonprescription drugs. 

Intake of specific food or using alcohol or tobacco with this drug is associated with an increased risk of certain side effects. Your healthcare professional can give you special instructions about the use of food, alcohol, or tobacco. 

Inform your healthcare provider for any other medical problems such as Addison's disease, Alcohol abuse, Asthma, Breathing problems, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Cor pulmonale, Drug dependence, Enlarged prostate, Head injuries, Hypothyroidism, Problems with passing urine, Respiratory depression, Heart rhythm problems, Hypotension, Hypovolemia, Seizures, Kidney disease or Liver disease.

3 Proper Usage

To use Demerol properly, you must follow all instructions given by your doctor. A trained healthcare professional will be the only one to give you this drug in a hospital.

This drug is administered intravenously through a needle placed in one of your veins or injected under your skin or into a muscle. When the drug is given in your vein it must be injected slowly, so your IV will need to stay in place for a while.

4 Precautions to Take

In using Demerol, you must be careful and take some precautions as advised by your doctor

Regular visits should be made to your healthcare provider to track your progress and to monitor the effectiveness of the drug. It is not recommended to use this drug with a MAO inhibitor such as isocarboxazid, phenelzine, selegiline, tranylcypromine, EldeprylВ®, MarplanВ®, NardilВ®, or ParnateВ® within 14 days to prevent any unwanted effects such as confusion, agitation, restlessness, stomach or intestinal symptoms, a sudden high temperature, an extremely high blood pressure, or convulsions. 

This drug will potentiate the effects of alcohol and other CNS depressants such as antihistamines or drug for allergies or colds, sedatives, tranquilizers, or sleeping drug, other prescription pain drug or narcotics, a drug for seizures or barbiturates, muscle relaxants, or anesthetics, including some dental anesthetics.

This drug may cause dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting, drowsiness, or reduced alertness. Be careful in taking this drug before you drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous. 

Getting up slowly from a lying or sitting position may also help. Check with your healthcare professional first before you take any other drugs to prevent a serious condition called serotonin syndrome.

Call your healthcare professional immediately if you have a fever, confusion, restlessness, loss of coordination, or diarrhea. 

Check with your healthcare professional before changing your dose or suddenly stop taking this drug if you have been using this drug regularly for several weeks or longer.

Your healthcare professional may slowly taper the amount you are using before stopping it completely to reduce the possibility of withdrawal symptoms, such as abdominal or stomach cramps, anxiety, fever, nausea, runny nose, sweating, tremors, or trouble with sleeping. 

Using narcotics for a long time can cause severe constipation. To prevent this, your healthcare professional may direct you to take laxatives, drink a lot of fluids, or increase the amount of fiber in your diet.

Be sure to follow the directions carefully, because continuing constipation can lead to more serious problems. Using this drug while you are pregnant may cause serious unwanted effects in your newborn baby. 

Tell your healthcare professional immediately if you think you are pregnant or if you plan to become pregnant while using this drug. Consult with your healthcare professional before you take any other prescription or nonprescription drugs, and herbal or vitamin supplements.

5 Potential Side Effects

As with many medications, there are several potential side effects associated with Demerol. Side effects may vary for each individual and prompt medical attention should be given if they occur. 

Seek advice from your healthcare professional immediately if you experience any unusual symptoms such as:

  • bluish color
  • blurred vision
  • changes in skin color
  • chest pain or discomfort
  • cold, clammy skin
  • confusion
  • convulsions
  • difficult or troubled breathing
  • dizziness
  • faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
  • the face is warm or hot to the touch
  • fainting
  • fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
  • fast or weak pulse
  • irregular, fast, slow, or shallow breathing
  • pain
  • pale or blue lips, fingernails, or skin
  • redness to the face
  • shakiness in the legs, arms, hands, or feet
  • shortness of breath
  • slow or irregular heartbeat
  • sweating
  • swelling of the foot or leg, tenderness
  • trembling or shaking of the hands or feet
  • unconsciousness uncoordinated movement of the muscles
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • upper abdominal or stomach pain
  • very low blood pressure or pulse
  • very slow breathing
  • wheezing, or

Symptoms of overdose such as:

  • bluish lips or skin
  • change in consciousness
  • decreased awareness or responsiveness
  • loss of consciousness
  • severe sleepiness
  • sleepiness or unusual drowsiness

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the drug, the side effects will slowly disappear. Ask your healthcare professional about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. 

If any of the following side effects persists or are inconvenient, or if you notice any other effects, or if you have any questions about them, consult with your health care professional. Report any side effects to the FDA hotline at 1-800-FDA-1088.