Demerol is an opioid that is given to patients before and after surgery. It is used for short-term, moderate-to-severe pain relief. It is possible to become addicted to Demerol as it is an opioid. It also has an extensive list of possible side effects to know and recognize.

Learn more about Demerol, its possible side effects, and how to manage the use of this medication.

How Demerol Works

Demerol is one of the brand names for a drug that is listed as an opioid. It is a medicine used to control moderate to severe pain on a short-term basis. Demerol is given in either tablet, liquid, or injection form. Meperidine is a potent ingredient in Demerol. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies it as a Schedule II drug. This means that Demerol has a high risk of abuse, and could potentially lead to severe addiction.

Demerol acts and works differently than other opioid painkillers. It does not keep nerve endings from sending pain messages to the brain. Instead, it acts on the central nervous system, basically, tricking the brain into feeling “high” instead of pain. When someone is taking Demerol for pain, they are essentially having feelings of euphoria instead of feeling pain.

Although this might seem like a great way to deal with pain, Demerol has some precautions that are important to know:

What are the Precautions Before Taking Demerol?

As stated on WebMD, there are precautions to know before taking Demerol.

  • Demerol should not be taken while on any monoamine oxidase inhibitor(MAOI), which is classified as an antidepressant.
  • Do not drink any alcohol or partake of marijuana if taking Demerol as this can cause very slow breathing, and/or extreme drowsiness
  • Do not take any cough or cold medicine while taking Demerol
  • Do not stop taking it suddenly if you have been taking Demerol for a long time. Doing so will bring on intense withdrawal symptoms, some of which can be fatal.
  • Older people may be more sensitive to the effects of feeling dizzy, drowsy, or slow/shallow breathing.
  • If pregnant, do not take Demerol unless instructed by your doctor. The main ingredient in this drug, (meperidine) can be transmitted to infants via breast milk.

Demerol Short-term Side Effects

As reported by RXList, Demerol has some known side effects in which to be aware. Below is a list of some of the more commonly experienced ones. It is also necessary to note that not all of these symptoms will happen at the same time, or if at all.

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Shivering
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Flushing
  • Drowsiness
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Mental depression
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Restlessness
  • Poor coordination
  • Sedation
  • Weakness
  • Difficult or troubled breathing
  • Dry mouth
  • Itching
  • Urinating less than usual
  • Puffiness or swelling of the face, neck, arms, and sometimes on the upper chest
  • Redness of the face, neck arms of the face, neck, arms, and sometimes on the upper chest
  • Shakiness in the arms, legs, feet or hands or they are trembling,
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness

Demerol Long-term Effects

One of the most significant points to make about Demerol is not to take it for an extended time. This is not a drug that is prescribed for chronic pain, as it can cause addiction and physical dependence. The probability of experiencing withdrawal symptoms is likely if Demerol is misused or abused, which include:

  • Agitation
  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Excessive sweating
  • Insomnia
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Demerol Addiction Treatment

The first step in addiction treatment is medical detox. The medical and psychological staff at The Palm Beach Institute will conduct an assessment, and with input from you, develop a treatment plan that is individual to you. Clinicians will be with you to administer any medication needed to help you through the withdrawal stage.

After detox, there are several treatment options you can choose from: intensive outpatient, partial hospitalization, and residential treatment. Your individual needs will determine which option is best for you. Each step on the journey to freedom from Demerol is reinforcement in preventing relapse.

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