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Demerol

Last reviewed on RxList: 9/20/2016
Demerol Side Effects Center

Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

Last reviewed on RxList 9/14/2016

Demerol (meperidine) is an oral and injectable opiod used for treatment of moderate to severe pain. Common side effects of Demerol include:

  • lightheadedness,
  • dizziness,
  • sedation,
  • nausea,
  • vomiting,
  • sweating,
  • constipation,
  • loss of appetite,
  • headache,
  • weakness,
  • dry mouth,
  • itching,
  • urinating less than usual,
  • flushing,
  • drowsiness, or
  • loss of interest in sex.

The usual dose of Demerol for adults is 50 to 150 mg every 3 to 4 hours. Demerol may interact with other narcotic pain medications, sedatives, tranquilizers, muscle relaxers, other medicines that can make you sleepy or slow your breathing, phenytoin, pentazocine, nalbuphine, butorphanol, or buprenorphine. Tell your doctor all medications and supplements you use. Demerol has not been adequately evaluated in pregnant women. Demerol is habit forming and may cause withdrawal symptoms. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using Demerol. Demerol passes into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Breastfeeding while using Demerol is not recommended.

Our Demerol Side Effects Drug Center provides a comprehensive view of available drug information on the potential side effects when taking this medication.

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.

Demerol Consumer Information

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 entire detailed patient monograph for Demerol (Meperidine)

Demerol Professional Information

SIDE EFFECTS

The major hazards of meperidine, as with other narcotic analgesics, are respiratory depression and, to a lesser degree, circulatory depression; respiratory arrest, shock, and cardiac arrest have occurred.

The most frequently observed adverse reactions include lightheadedness, dizziness, sedation, nausea, vomiting, and sweating. These effects seem to be more prominent in ambulatory patients and in those who are not experiencing severe pain. In such individuals, lower doses are advisable. Some adverse reactions in ambulatory patients may be alleviated if the patient lies down.

Other adverse reactions include:

Nervous System

Euphoria, dysphoria, weakness, headache, agitation, tremor, uncoordinated muscle movements, severe convulsions, transient hallucinations and disorientation, visual disturbances. Inadvertent injection about a nerve trunk may result in sensory-motor paralysis which is usually, though not always, transitory.

Gastrointestinal

Dry mouth, constipation, biliary tract spasm.

Cardiovascular

Flushing of the face, tachycardia, bradycardia, palpitation, hypotension (see WARNINGS), syncope, phlebitis following intravenous injection.

Genitourinary

Urinary retention.

Allergic

Pruritus, urticaria, other skin rashes, wheal and flare over the vein with intravenous injection.

Other

Pain at injection site; local tissue irritation and induration following subcutaneous injection, particularly when repeated; antidiuretic effect.

Read the entire FDA prescribing information for Demerol (Meperidine)

Related Resources for Demerol

Read the Demerol User Reviews »

© Demerol Patient Information is supplied by Cerner Multum, Inc. and Demerol Consumer information is supplied by First Databank, Inc., used under license and subject to their respective copyrights.

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