Generic Name: meperidine (Injection route)

me-PER-i-deen

Commonly used brand name(s)

In the U.S.

  • Demerol

Available Dosage Forms:

  • Solution

Therapeutic Class: Analgesic

Chemical Class: Opioid

Uses For Demerol

Meperidine injection is used to relieve moderate to severe pain. It belongs to the group of medicines called narcotic analgesics (pain medicines). Meperidine acts on the central nervous system (CNS) to relieve pain.

When a narcotic medicine is used for a long time, it may become habit-forming, causing mental or physical dependence. However, people who have continuing pain should not let the fear of dependence keep them from using narcotics to relieve their pain. Mental dependence (addiction) is not likely to occur when narcotics are used for this purpose. Physical dependence may lead to withdrawal side effects if treatment is stopped suddenly. However, severe withdrawal side effects can usually be prevented by gradually reducing the dose over a period of time before treatment is stopped completely.

Slideshow: 2014 Update: First Time Brand-to-Generic Switches

This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription.

Before Using Demerol

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:

Allergies

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.

Pediatric

Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of meperidine injection in children. Safety and efficacy have not been established.

Geriatric

No information is available on the relationship of age to the effects of meperidine injection in geriatric patients. However, elderly patients are more likely to have age-related kidney or liver problems, which may require caution and an adjustment in the dose for patients receiving meperidine injection.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy Category Explanation
All Trimesters C Animal studies have shown an adverse effect and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women OR no animal studies have been conducted and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women.

Breast Feeding

There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.

Interactions with Medicines

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are receiving this medicine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.

  • Clorgyline
  • Iproniazid
  • Isocarboxazid
  • Linezolid
  • Moclobemide
  • Naltrexone
  • Nialamide
  • Pargyline
  • Phenelzine
  • Procarbazine
  • Rasagiline
  • Selegiline
  • Toloxatone
  • Tranylcypromine

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Alfentanil
  • Almotriptan
  • Alprazolam
  • Amineptine
  • Amitriptyline
  • Amitriptylinoxide
  • Amoxapine
  • Amphetamine
  • Anileridine
  • Baclofen
  • Bromazepam
  • Brompheniramine
  • Buprenorphine
  • Buspirone
  • Butalbital
  • Butorphanol
  • Carbamazepine
  • Carbinoxamine
  • Carisoprodol
  • Chloral Hydrate
  • Chlordiazepoxide
  • Chlorpheniramine
  • Chlorzoxazone
  • Cimetidine
  • Citalopram
  • Clobazam
  • Clomipramine
  • Clonazepam
  • Clorazepate
  • Cocaine
  • Codeine
  • Cyclobenzaprine
  • Dantrolene
  • Desipramine
  • Desvenlafaxine
  • Dextroamphetamine
  • Dextromethorphan
  • Dezocine
  • Diazepam
  • Dibenzepin
  • Doxepin
  • Duloxetine
  • Eletriptan
  • Escitalopram
  • Estazolam
  • Ethchlorvynol
  • Fentanyl
  • Flunitrazepam
  • Fluoxetine
  • Flurazepam
  • Fluvoxamine
  • Fospropofol
  • Frovatriptan
  • Furazolidone
  • Halazepam
  • Hydrocodone
  • Hydromorphone
  • Hydroxytryptophan
  • Imipramine
  • Ketazolam
  • Levomilnacipran
  • Levorphanol
  • Lithium
  • Lofepramine
  • Lorazepam
  • Lorcaserin
  • Lormetazepam
  • Meclizine
  • Medazepam
  • Melitracen
  • Meperidine
  • Mephenesin
  • Mephobarbital
  • Meprobamate
  • Meptazinol
  • Metaxalone
  • Methadone
  • Methocarbamol
  • Methohexital
  • Methylene Blue
  • Midazolam
  • Milnacipran
  • Mirtazapine
  • Morphine
  • Morphine Sulfate Liposome
  • Nalbuphine
  • Naratriptan
  • Nefazodone
  • Nitrazepam
  • Nortriptyline
  • Opipramol
  • Opium
  • Orphenadrine
  • Oxazepam
  • Oxycodone
  • Oxymorphone
  • Paroxetine
  • Pentazocine
  • Prazepam
  • Propoxyphene
  • Protriptyline
  • Quazepam
  • Remifentanil
  • Rizatriptan
  • Sertraline
  • Sibutramine
  • Sodium Oxybate
  • St John's Wort
  • Sufentanil
  • Sumatriptan
  • Tapentadol
  • Temazepam
  • Thiopental
  • Tianeptine
  • Tizanidine
  • Tramadol
  • Trazodone
  • Triazolam
  • Trimipramine
  • Tryptophan
  • Valproic Acid
  • Venlafaxine
  • Vilazodone
  • Vortioxetine
  • Zolmitriptan

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Acetophenazine
  • Chlorpromazine
  • Ethopropazine
  • Fluphenazine
  • Fosphenytoin
  • Isoniazid
  • Mesoridazine
  • Methotrimeprazine
  • Perampanel
  • Perphenazine
  • Phenytoin
  • Pipotiazine
  • Prochlorperazine
  • Promazine
  • Promethazine
  • Propiomazine
  • Ritonavir
  • Thiethylperazine
  • Thioridazine
  • Trifluoperazine
  • Triflupromazine
  • Trimeprazine

Interactions with Food/Tobacco/Alcohol

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.

Using this medicine with any of the following may cause an increased risk of certain side effects but may be unavoidable in some cases. If used together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use this medicine, or give you special instructions about the use of food, alcohol, or tobacco.

  • Ethanol

Other Medical Problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Addison's disease (adrenal gland problem) or
  • Alcohol abuse, or history of or
  • Asthma, severe or
  • Breathing problems, severe (e.g., hypoxia) or
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or
  • Cor pulmonale (serious heart condition) or
  • Drug dependence, especially with narcotics, or history of or
  • Enlarged prostate (BPH, prostatic hypertrophy) or
  • Head injuries, history of or
  • Hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid) or
  • Problems with passing urine or
  • Respiratory depression (very slow breathing)—Use with caution. May increase risk for more serious side effects.
  • Heart rhythm problems (e.g., atrial flutter, tachycardia) or
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure) or
  • Hypovolemia (low blood volume) or
  • Seizures, history of—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
  • Kidney disease or
  • Liver disease—Use with caution. The effects may be increased because of slower removal of the medicine from the body.

Proper Use of Demerol

A nurse or other trained health professional will give you this medicine in a hospital. This medicine is given through a needle placed in one of your veins, or as a shot under your skin or in a muscle. When the medicine is given in your vein it must be injected slowly, so your IV will need to stay in place for awhile.

Precautions While Using Demerol

It is very important that your doctor check your progress while you are receiving this medicine. This is to make sure that the medicine is working properly, and to allow your doctor to check for any unwanted effects.

Do not use this medicine if you have taken a monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor in the past 2 weeks. MAO inhibitors are used for depression, and some examples are isocarboxazid (Marplan®), phenelzine (Nardil®), selegiline (Eldepryl®), and tranylcypromine (Parnate®). If meperidine injection is used with MAO inhibitors, you may have unwanted effects like confusion, agitation, restlessness, stomach or intestinal symptoms, a sudden high temperature, an extremely high blood pressure, or convulsions.

This medicine will add to the effects of alcohol and other CNS depressants (medicines that can make you drowsy or less alert). Some examples of CNS depressants are antihistamines or medicine for allergies or colds; sedatives, tranquilizers, or sleeping medicine; other prescription pain medicine or narcotics; medicine for seizures or barbiturates; muscle relaxants; or anesthetics, including some dental anesthetics. Check with your doctor before taking any of the medicines listed above while you are using this medicine.

This medicine may be habit-forming. If you feel that the medicine is not working as well, do not use more than your prescribed dose. Call your doctor for instructions.

Using narcotics for a long time can cause severe constipation. To prevent this, your doctor may direct you to take laxatives, drink a lot of fluids, or increase the amount of fiber in the diet. Be sure to follow the directions carefully, because continuing constipation can lead to more serious problems.

Dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting may occur when you get up suddenly from a lying or sitting position. Getting up slowly may help lessen this problem. Also, lying down for a while may relieve the dizziness or lightheadedness.

This medicine may make you dizzy, drowsy, confused, or disoriented. Make sure you know how you react to this medicine before you drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous if you are dizzy or not alert.

Before having any kind of surgery (including dental surgery) or emergency treatment, tell the medical doctor or dentist in charge that you are using this medicine. Serious unwanted effects can occur if certain medicines are given together with meperidine injection.

If you have been using this medicine regularly for several weeks or longer, do not suddenly stop using it without checking with your doctor. Your doctor may want you to gradually reduce the amount you are using before stopping it completely. This may help prevent worsening of your condition and reduce the possibility of withdrawal symptoms, such as abdominal or stomach cramps, anxiety, fever, nausea, runny nose, sweating, tremors, or trouble with sleeping.

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.

Demerol Side Effects

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

Incidence not known
  • Bluish color
  • blurred vision
  • changes in skin color
  • chest pain or discomfort
  • cold, clammy skin
  • confusion
  • convulsions
  • difficult or troubled breathing
  • dizziness
  • dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
  • face is warm or hot to the touch
  • fainting
  • fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
  • fast or weak pulse
  • irregular, fast, slow, or shallow breathing
  • pain
  • pale or blue lips, fingernails, or skin
  • redness to the face
  • shakiness in the legs, arms, hands, or feet
  • shortness of breath
  • slow or irregular heartbeat
  • sweating
  • swelling of the foot or leg
  • tenderness
  • trembling or shaking of the hands or feet
  • unconsciousness
  • uncoordinated movement of the muscles
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • upper abdominal or stomach pain
  • very low blood pressure or pulse
  • very slow breathing
  • wheezing

Get emergency help immediately if any of the following symptoms of overdose occur:

Symptoms of overdose
  • Bluish lips or skin
  • change in consciousness
  • decreased awareness or responsiveness
  • loss of consciousness
  • severe sleepiness
  • sleepiness or unusual drowsiness

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common
  • Drowsiness
  • nausea
  • relaxed or calm feeling
  • sleepiness
  • sweating
  • vomiting
Incidence not known
  • Anxiety
  • blurred or loss of vision
  • confusion about identity, place, and time
  • constipation
  • disturbed color perception
  • double vision
  • dry mouth
  • false or unusual sense of well-being
  • halos around lights
  • hardening or thickening of the skin
  • headache
  • hives or welts
  • hyperventilation
  • irritability
  • itching skin
  • nervousness
  • night blindness
  • overbright appearance of lights
  • red streaks on the skin
  • redness of the skin
  • restlessness
  • seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there
  • shaking or tremors
  • skin rash
  • swelling, tenderness, or pain at the injection site
  • trouble sleeping
  • tunnel vision
  • weakness

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

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