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Demerol

Last reviewed on RxList: 9/19/2018
Demerol Side Effects Center

Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

Last reviewed on RxList 9/19/2018

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

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 signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Like other opioid medicines, meperidine can slow your breathing. Death may occur if breathing becomes too weak. 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:

  • 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);
  • 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;
  • headache;
  • nausea, vomiting; or
  • sweating.

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 following serious adverse reactions are described, or described in greater detail, in other sections:

The following adverse reactions associated with the use of meperidine were identified in clinical studies or postmarketing reports. Because some of these reactions were reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.

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

The most frequently observed adverse reactions included 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

Mood changes (e.g., euphoria, dysphoria), weakness, headache, agitation, tremor, involuntary muscle movements (e.g., muscle twitches, myoclonus), severe convulsions, transient hallucinations and disorientation, confusion, delirium, visual disturbances.

Gastrointestinal

Dry mouth, constipation, biliary tract spasm.

Cardiovascular

lushing of the face, tachycardia, bradycardia, palpitation, hypotension [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS], syncope.

Genitourinary

Urinary retention.

Allergic

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

Histamine release leading to hypotension and/or tachycardia, flushing, sweating, and pruritus.

Serotonin Syndrome

Cases of serotonin syndrome, a potentially life-threatening condition, have been reported during concomitant use of opioids with serotonergic drugs.

Adrenal Insufficiency

Cases of adrenal insufficiency have been reported with opioid use, more often following greater than one month of use.

Androgen Deficiency

Cases of androgen deficiency have occurred with chronic use of opioids [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].

To report SUSPECTED ADVERSE REACTIONS, contact Validus Pharmaceuticals LLC at 1866-982-5438 (1-866-9VALIDUS) or FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch.

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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