Generic Name: meperidine (oral/injection)
- What is meperidine?
- What are the possible side effects of meperidine?
- What is the most important information I should know about meperidine?
- What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using meperidine?
- How should I use meperidine?
- What happens if I miss a dose?
- What happens if I overdose?
- What should I avoid while using meperidine?
- What other drugs will affect meperidine?
- Where can I get more information?
What is meperidine?
Meperidine is an opioid medication used to treat moderate-to-severe pain.
Meperidine may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What are the possible side effects of meperidine?
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Opioid medicine can slow or stop your breathing, and death may occur. A person caring for you should seek emergency medical attention if you have slow breathing with long pauses, blue colored lips, or if you are hard to wake up.
Stop using meperidine and call your doctor at once if you have:
- slow heartbeats, weak or shallow breathing, breathing that stops during sleep;
- severe drowsiness, feeling like you might pass out;
- confusion, mood changes;
- severe constipation;
- tremors, muscle movements you cannot control, or a seizure (convulsions); or
- 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.
Serious side effects may be more likely in older adults and those who are malnourished or debilitated.
Long-term use of opioid medication may affect fertility (ability to have children) in men or women. It is not known whether opioid effects on fertility are permanent.
Common side effects may include:
- dizziness, drowsiness;
- nausea, vomiting; or
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.
What is the most important information I should know about meperidine?
MISUSE OF OPIOID MEDICINE CAN CAUSE ADDICTION, OVERDOSE, OR DEATH. Keep the medication in a place where others cannot get to it.
Using opioid medicine during pregnancy may cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in the newborn.
Fatal side effects can occur if you use opioid medicine with alcohol, or with other drugs that cause drowsiness or slow your breathing.
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What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using meperidine?
You should not use meperidine if you are allergic to it, or if you have:
- severe asthma or breathing problems; or
- a blockage in your stomach or intestines.
Do not use meperidine 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.
Tell your doctor if you have ever had:
- a head injury, brain tumor, or seizures;
- breathing problems, sleep apnea;
- drug or alcohol addiction, or mental illness;
- a blockage in your stomach or intestines;
- urination problems;
- liver or kidney disease;
- problems with your gallbladder, adrenal gland, or thyroid;
- sickle cell anemia; or
- abnormal curvature of the spine that affects breathing.
If you use opioid medicine while you are pregnant, your baby could become dependent on the drug. This can cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in the baby after it is born. Babies born dependent on opioids may need medical treatment for several weeks.
Do not breastfeed while using meperidine. This medicine can pass into breast milk and cause drowsiness, breathing problems, or death in a nursing baby.
How should I use meperidine?
Follow the directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides. Never use meperidine in larger amounts, or for longer than prescribed. Tell your doctor if you feel an increased urge to take more of this medicine.
Never share opioid medicine with another person, especially someone with a history of drug abuse or addiction. MISUSE CAN CAUSE ADDICTION, OVERDOSE, OR DEATH. Keep the medication in a place where others cannot get to it. Selling or giving away opioid medicine is against the law.
Meperidine oral is taken by mouth.
Meperidine injection is given as an infusion into a vein, or injected into a muscle or under the skin. A healthcare provider will give you this injection.
Measure liquid medicine carefully. Use the dosing syringe provided, or use a medicine dose-measuring device (not a kitchen spoon).
Do not stop using this medicine suddenly after long-term use, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Ask your doctor how to safely stop using meperidine.
Never crush or break a meperidine pill 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 prescription drugs.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Keep track of your medicine. You should be aware if anyone is using it improperly or without a prescription.
Do not keep leftover opioid medication. Just one dose can cause death in someone using this medicine accidentally or improperly. Ask your pharmacist where to locate a drug take-back disposal program. If there is no take-back program, flush the unused medicine down the toilet.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Since meperidine is used for pain, you are not likely to miss a dose. Skip any missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not use two doses at one time.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. A meperidine overdose can be fatal, especially in a child or other person using the medicine without a prescription. Overdose symptoms may include slow breathing and heart rate, severe drowsiness, muscle weakness, cold and clammy skin, blue-colored skin or lips, fainting, or coma.
What should I avoid while using meperidine?
Do not drink alcohol. Dangerous side effects or death can occur when alcohol is combined with meperidine.
Avoid driving or hazardous activity until you know how this medicine will affect you. Dizziness or drowsiness can cause falls, accidents, or severe injuries.
What other drugs will affect meperidine?
You may have breathing problems or withdrawal symptoms if you start or stop taking certain other medicines. Tell your doctor if you also use an antibiotic, antifungal medication, heart or blood pressure medication, seizure medication, or medicine to treat HIV or hepatitis C.
Opioid medication can interact with many other drugs and cause dangerous side effects or death. Be sure your doctor knows if you also use:
- other narcotic medications--opioid pain medicine or prescription cough medicine;
- a sedative like Valium--diazepam, alprazolam, lorazepam, Xanax, Klonopin, Versed, and others;
- drugs that make you sleepy or slow your breathing--a sleeping pill, muscle relaxer, medicine to treat mood disorders or mental illness; or
- drugs that affect serotonin levels in your body--a stimulant, or medicine for depression, Parkinson's disease, migraine headaches, serious infections, or nausea and vomiting.
This list is not complete. Other drugs may affect meperidine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed here.
Where can I get more information?
Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about meperidine.