Demerol Side Effects & Warnings
Meperidine hydrochloride (brand name Demerol) belongs to a class of medications known as opioid analgesics. Demerol is used to help treat moderate to severe pain.
This opioid analgesic has the potential to be abused due to the euphoric and sedative nature of the drug. However, there are a number of side effects and warnings that come with both approved use and Demerol abuse.
Side Effects Of Demerol Abuse
As a pain medication, Demerol provides relief, but should not be used to treat chronic pain. If abused, Demerol can produce a wide array of short-term and long-term side effects.
Short-Term Side Effects
Some of the short-term side effects of Demerol use or abuse may include:
- feelings of relaxation
- abdominal pain
- dry mouth
Long-Term Side Effects
Long-term side effects of Demerol abuse can include:
- mood changes
- dependency or addiction
More serious side effects can occur in those suffering from withdrawal symptoms.
A person dealing with withdrawal from Demerol may experience:
- blood pressure fluctuations
- runny nose
According to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a person suffering from withdrawal symptoms due to Demerol abuse may have developed a tolerance or dependence to the drug.
If Demerol is abused in a way other than prescribed, it can lead to life-threatening issues such as an overdose.
Signs of a Demerol overdose can include:
- clammy skin
- blue-colored lips or skin
- shallow breathing
- slowed heart rate
- muscle weakness
- cold skin
- severe drowsiness
If you suspect an overdose has occurred, seek medical attention immediately. A medical professional may use a medication known as naloxone to help reverse the effects of an overdose.
Before using this medication, you will likely need to speak with your healthcare provider regarding the warnings of taking this medication. Abusing Demerol can increase your risk of opioid addiction.
Demerol Can Be Habit-Forming
Demerol can be habit-forming due to the sedative nature of the drug. Those who abuse Demerol by taking high doses to continue to achieve the same feelings of euphoria may eventually develop a tolerance to the drug.
When a person becomes tolerant of Demerol, they may begin to take more of the drug or even turn to other opioid medications. Simultaneously taking Demerol with other drugs can be harmful to your health due to certain medications interacting with one another.
Concurrent CNS Depressant Use
Since Demerol is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, it’s important to not combine certain prescription drugs or illegal drugs with this medication.
For instance, drugs which further depress the CNS include benzodiazepines, muscle relaxants, alcohol, and certain mixed opioid agonist-antagonist medications such as pentazocine.
Combining certain medications can lead to serious side effects such as hypotension, low blood pressure, and respiratory depression.
Other Harmful Drug Interactions
Combining CNS depressant medications with Demerol can cause harm to your health in a variety of ways. In addition to this, a number of drug interactions and allergic reactions can occur.
This is why it’s important to notify your doctor if you take any of the following medications:
- methylene blue
- phenytoin (Phenytek)
- ritonavir (Norvir)
- tranylcypromine (Parnate)
- acyclovir (Zovirax)
- alprazolam (Xanax)
- cimetidine (Tagamet)
- lorazepam (Ativan)
- linezolid (Zyvox)
- selegiline (Eldepryl)
Harmful reactions can take place, including serotonin syndrome, so be sure to stay away from monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOIs) medications as well.
In addition to staying away from specific prescription drugs, there are other warnings you should know when it comes to using Demerol.
Let your healthcare professional know:
- if you’ve ever experienced a head injury or trauma
- if you have breathing problems such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or sleep apnea
- if you are currently breastfeeding
- if you are taking certain vitamins or supplements
- if you have the condition paralytic ileus
It’s important to heed these warnings so that adverse effects such as hives, trouble breathing, and other serious medical concerns do not occur.
Treatment For Demerol Abuse
If you or a loved one are struggling with drug abuse, opioid addiction treatment options can include:
For information on our outpatient rehab program, please contact Northeast Addictions Treatment Center today.
Northeast Addition Editorial Team
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This page does not provide medical advice.