Meperidine hydrochloride, brand name Demerol®, is an opioid prescribed by physicians for relief of severe or chronic pain. Initially, Demerol was thought to be a safer, less addictive alternative to morphine. During the 60s and 70s, over 60 percent of U.S. physicians were prescribing Demerol for acute or chronic pain. However, doctors eventually discovered that Demerol actually carried an addiction risk equal to morphine.
Standard Dosage Of Demerol
Demerol is available as an oral solution or in tablet form. Dosages range between 25 mg to 100 or 150 mg every three to four hours. The oral solution is banana-flavored and may be given (rarely) to children over 10 years old. People using Demerol for pain will develop a tolerance that may require higher dosages to eliminate pain if Demerol is being used to ease chronic pain.
In the U.S. today, Demerol is primarily administered to women giving birth but it continues to be commonly prescribed in New Zealand and the United Kingdom for pain relief. U.S. physicians will prescribe Demerol for alleviating symptoms of diverticulitis because this particular opioid reduces intestinal pressure.
- Demerol is not typically prescribed outside of hospitals.
Consequently, people using Demerol have obtained it illegally for recreational purposes or they could be heroin or fentanyl addicts using an opioid substitute to ease withdrawal symptoms.
Demerol Side Effects
Adverse effects of Demerol include extreme sedation, nausea/vomiting, dizziness, constipation, inability to urinate/swelling of feet and hands and profuse perspiration. Unlike other pain-relieving opioids that cause pupils to constrict, Demerol does not affect pupils due to its ability to block release of acetylcholine, a stimulatory neurotransmitter activated by other opioids.
Demerol overdose symptoms include slowed breathing, muscle weakness, dangerously low blood pressure, clammy skin and mental confusion. Unless treatment with naloxone or other narcotic antagonist is given to someone overdosing on Demerol, coma and death may result.
Drug Interactions with Demerol
People taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MOAIs such as Nardil or Marplan for depression and anxiety) should not take Demerol. Serious side effects occur when mixing Demerol with MAOIs, especially extreme agitation, hyperthermia and convulsions. These dangerous effects are caused by a significant increase of serotonin levels in the brain. In addition, Demerol could also react negatively with muscle relaxants, benzodiazepines and other antidepressants. Demerol, like all other opioids, should never be mixed with alcohol.
Recreational Use of Demerol
Demerol used to be one of the most reported stolen or “lost” drugs by hospitals and other medical facilities until several years ago, when stronger opioids like fentanyl, oxycodone and Hydromorphone replaced its popularity as a recreational opioid.
According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, Demerol, as well as Vicodin, Dilaudid and OxyContin, continues to be one of the most abused opioids in the U.S.
Video About Demerol
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