What is Demerol® (meperidine) used for?
Demerol® is an opioid pain medication. An opioid is sometimes called a narcotic.
Demerol® is used to treat moderate-to-severe pain.
Demerol® may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
How should I take Demerol® (meperidine)?
Take Demerol® exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Meperidine can slow or stop your breathing, especially when you start using this medicine or whenever your dose is changed. Never take Demerol® in larger amounts, or for longer than prescribed. Tell your doctor if the medicine seems to stop working as well in relieving your pain.
Demerol® may be habit-forming, even at regular doses. Never share this medicine with another person, especially someone with a history of drug abuse or addiction.
Measure liquid medicine with the dosing syringe provided, or with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.
Do not stop using Demerol® suddenly after long-term use, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Ask your doctor how to avoid withdrawal symptoms when you stop using this medicine.
Never crush or break a tablet to inhale the powder or mix it into a liquid to inject the drug into your vein. This practice has resulted in death with the misuse of meperidine and similar prescription drugs.
How do I store Demerol® (meperidine)?
Demerol® is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store Demerol® in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of Demerol® that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.
You should not flush Demerol® down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.
Precautions & warnings
What should I know before using Demerol® (meperidine)?
Before using this drug, tell your doctor if:
- You are pregnant or breastfeeding. This is because, while you are expecting or feeding a baby, you should only take medicines on the recommendation of a doctor.
- You are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
- You have allergy with any of active or inactive ingredients of Demerol® or other medications.
- You have any other illnesses, disorders, or medical conditions.
You should not use Demerol® if you have severe asthma or breathing problems.
Do not use Demerol® if you have used an MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days. A dangerous drug interaction could occur. MAO inhibitors include isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue injection, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, tranylcypromine, and others.
Some medicines can interact with meperidine and cause a serious condition called serotonin syndrome. Be sure your doctor knows if you also take medicine for depression, mental illness, Parkinson’s disease, migraine headaches, serious infections, or prevention of nausea and vomiting. Ask your doctor before making any changes in how or when you take your medications.
Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?
There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using Demerol® during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking Demerol®. Demerol® is pregnancy risk category C, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:
- A=No risk
- B=No risk in some studies
- C=There may be some risk
- D=Positive evidence of risk
What side effects can occur from Demerol® (meperidine)?
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Demerol® hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Like other narcotic medicines, meperidine can slow your breathing. Death may occur if breathing becomes too weak.
Stop using Demerol® and call your doctor at once if you have:
- Weak or shallow breathing, slow heartbeat
- Severe drowsiness, feeling like you might pass out
- Confusion, mood changes, agitation, hallucinations
- Tremors, muscle movements you cannot control, or a seizure (convulsions)
- Infertility, missed menstrual periods
- Impotence, sexual problems, loss of interest in sex
- Low cortisol levels – nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, dizziness, worsening tiredness or weakness
Seek medical attention right away if you have symptoms of serotonin syndrome, such as: agitation, hallucinations, fever, sweating, shivering, fast heart rate, muscle stiffness, twitching, loss of coordination, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Meperidine is more likely to cause breathing problems in older adults and people who are severely ill, malnourished, or otherwise debilitated.
Common side effects may include:
- Dizziness, drowsiness
- Nausea, vomiting
Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.
What drugs may interact with Demerol® (meperidine)?
Demerol® may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.
Products that may interact with this drug are:
- Other narcotic medications – opioid pain medicine or prescription cough medicine
- Drugs that make you sleepy or slow your breathing – a sleeping pill, muscle relaxer, sedative, tranquilizer, or antipsychotic medicine
- Drugs that affect serotonin levels in your body – medicine for depression, Parkinson’s disease, migraine headaches, serious infections, or prevention of nausea and vomiting
Does food or alcohol interact with Demerol® (meperidine)?
Demerol® may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.
What health conditions may interact with Demerol® (meperidine)?
Demerol® may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.
Health conditions that may interact with this drug are:
- Any type of breathing problem or lung disease
- A blockage in your stomach or intestines
- A history of head injury, brain tumor, or seizures
- A history of drug abuse, alcohol addiction, or mental illness
- Urination problems
- Liver or kidney disease
- Problems with your gallbladder, adrenal gland, or thyroid
- Sickle cell anemia
- Abnormal curvature of the spine that affects breathing
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using Demerol® (meperidine).
What is the dose of Demerol® (meperidine) for an adult?
Initiate treatment with Demerol® Tablets in a dosing range of 50 mg to 150 mg orally, every 3 or 4 hours as needed for pain.
For Management of Pain
Adults: The usual dosage is 50 mg to 150 mg intramuscularly or subcutaneously every 3 or 4 hours as needed for pain. Elderly patients should usually be given meperidine at the lower end of the dose range and observed closely.
For Preoperative Medication
Adults: The usual dosage is 50 mg to 100 mg intramuscularly or subcutaneously, 30 to 90 minutes before the beginning of anesthesia. Elderly patients should usually be given meperidine at the lower end of the dose range and observed closely.
For Support of Anesthesia
Repeated slow intravenous Injections of fractional doses (e.g., 10 mg/mL) or continuous intravenous infusion of a more dilute solution (e.g., 1 mg/mL) should be used.
The dose should be titrated to the needs of the patient and will depend on the premedication and type of anesthesia being employed, the characteristics of the particular patient, and the nature and duration of the operative procedure.
Elderly patients should usually be given meperidine at the lower end of the dose range and observed closely.
5 For Obstetrical Analgesia
The usual dosage is 50 mg to 100 mg intramuscularly or subcutaneously when pain becomes regular, and may be repeated at 1- to 3-hour intervals.
Dosage Modifications with Concomitant Phenothiazines
The dose of Demerol® Injection should be proportionately reduced (usually by 25 to 50 percent) when administered concomitantly with phenothiazines and many other tranquilizers since they potentiate the action of Demerol® Injection.
What is the dose of Demerol® (meperidine) for a child?
Initiate treatment with Demerol® Tablets in a dosing range of 1.1 mg/kg to 1.8 mg/kg orally, up to the adult dose, every 3 or 4 hours as necessary.
For Management of Pain
Children: The usual dosage is 0.5 mg/lb to 0.8 mg/lb intramuscularly or subcutaneously up to the adult dose, every 3 or 4 hours as necessary.
For Preoperative Medication
Children: The usual dosage is 0.5 mg/lb to 1 mg/lb intramuscularly or subcutaneously up to the adult dose, 30 to 90 minutes before the beginning of anesthesia.
How is Demerol® (meperidine) available?
Demerol® is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:
- Injection, solution: meperidine hydrochloride 25mg in 1ml
- Tablet: meperidine hydrochloride 50mg
What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?
In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.
What should I do if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose of Demerol®, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Demerol®. https://www.drugs.com/demerol.html. Accessed July 28, 2017
Demerol®. http://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-4334/demerol-oral/details. Accessed July 28, 2017
Review Date: July 26, 2017 | Last Modified: August 4, 2017