Slideshows Images Quizzes

Demerol

Last reviewed on RxList: 9/20/2016
Demerol Patient Information Including Side Effects

What are the possible side effects of meperidine (Demerol)?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • weak or shallow breathing, slow heartbeat;
  • severe drowsiness, feeling like you might pass out;
  • seizure (convulsions);
  • cold, clammy skin;
  • muscle movements you cannot control;
  • confusion, mood changes;
  • severe weakness or dizziness; or
  • agitation, hallucinations, fever, fast heart rate, overactive reflexes, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of coordination, fainting;

Less serious side effects may include:

  • constipation;
  • loss of appetite;
  • headache, dizziness, mild weakness;
  • dry mouth;
  • sweating;
  • itching;
  • urinating less than usual; or
  • loss of interest in sex.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Read the Demerol (meperidine) Side Effects Center for a complete guide to possible side effects

What is the most important information I should know about meperidine (Demerol)?

Meperidine may be habit-forming and should be used only by the person it was prescribed for. Keep the medication in a secure place where others cannot get to it.

Do not drink alcohol while you are taking meperidine. Dangerous side effects or death can occur when alcohol is combined with a narcotic pain medicine. Check your food and medicine labels to be sure these products do not contain alcohol.

Never take meperidine in larger amounts, or for longer than recommended by your doctor, or you could have serious or life-threatening side effects. Tell your doctor if the medicine seems to stop working as well in relieving your pain.

This medication may impair your thinking or reactions. Avoid driving or operating machinery until you know how meperidine will affect you.

Do not stop using meperidine suddenly, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Ask your doctor how to avoid withdrawal symptoms when you stop using meperidine.

FDA Logo

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Demerol Patient Information including How Should I Take

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking meperidine (Demerol)?

You should not use meperidine if you are allergic to it.

Do not use meperidine if you have used an MAO inhibitor such as furazolidone (Furoxone), isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), rasagiline (Azilect), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar), or tranylcypromine (Parnate) in the last 14 days. A dangerous drug interaction could occur, leading to serious side effects.

To make sure you can safely take meperidine, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

  • asthma, COPD, sleep apnea, or other breathing disorders;
  • liver or kidney disease;
  • underactive thyroid;
  • curvature of the spine;
  • a history of head injury or brain tumor;
  • epilepsy or other seizure disorder;
  • low blood pressure;
  • gallbladder disease;
  • sickle cell anemia;
  • pheochromocytoma (tumor of the adrenal gland), Addison's disease, or other adrenal gland disorders;
  • enlarged prostate, urination problems;
  • mental illness;
  • a history of drug or alcohol addiction; or
  • if you recently drank large amounts of alcohol.

Meperidine may be habit forming and should be used only by the person it was prescribed for. Never share meperidine with another person, especially someone with a history of drug abuse or addiction. Keep the medication in a place where others cannot get to it.

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether meperidine will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using meperidine.

Meperidine can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are using meperidine.

Older adults may be more sensitive to the effects of this medication.

How should I take meperidine (Demerol)?

Take exactly as prescribed. Never take meperidine in larger amounts or for longer than recommended by your doctor, or you could have serious or life-threatening side effects. Follow the directions on your prescription label. Tell your doctor if the medicine seems to stop working as well in relieving your pain.

Take this medicine with a full glass of water.

Take meperidine with food or milk if it causes stomach upset.

Measure liquid medicine with a special dose measuring spoon or medicine cup, not with a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.

Do not stop using meperidine suddenly, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Ask your doctor how to avoid withdrawal symptoms when you stop using meperidine.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Keep track of the amount of medicine used from each new bottle. Meperidine is a drug of abuse and you should be aware if anyone is using your medicine improperly or without a prescription.

After you have stopped using this medication, flush any unused pills down the toilet.

Demerol Patient Information including If I Miss a Dose

What happens if I miss a dose (Demerol)?

Since meperidine is taken as needed, you may not be on a dosing schedule. If you are taking the medication regularly, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose (Demerol)?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. An overdose of meperidine can be fatal.

Overdose symptoms may include extreme drowsiness, muscle weakness, confusion, cold and clammy skin, pinpoint pupils, shallow breathing, slow heart rate, fainting, or coma.

What should I avoid while taking meperidine (Demerol)?

Do not drink alcohol while you are using meperidine. Dangerous side effects or death can occur when alcohol is combined with meperidine. Check your food and medicine labels to be sure these products do not contain alcohol.

This medication may impair your thinking or reactions. Avoid driving or operating machinery until you know how meperidine will affect you.

What other drugs will affect meperidine (Demerol)?

Do not take meperidine with other narcotic pain medications, sedatives, tranquilizers, muscle relaxers, or other medicines that can make you sleepy or slow your breathing. Dangerous side effects may result.

Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use, especially:

  • phenytoin (Dilantin);
  • pentazocine (Talwin);
  • nalbuphine (Nubain);
  • butorphanol (Stadol); or
  • buprenorphine (Buprenex, Subutex).

This list is not complete and other drugs may interact with meperidine. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

Your pharmacist can provide more information about meperidine.


Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2013 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 9.02. Revision date: 2/2/2012.

Your use of the content provided in this service indicates that you have read,understood and agree to the End-User License Agreement,which can be accessed by clicking on this link.

Healthwise

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors