Generic name: Meperidine Tablets [ me-PER-i-deen ]
Brand names: Demerol, Meperitab
Drug class: Opioids (narcotic analgesics)
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Mar 11, 2023.
- This medicine is a strong pain drug that can put you at risk for addiction, abuse, and misuse. Misuse or abuse of Demerol (meperidine tablets) can lead to overdose and death. Talk with your doctor.
- You will be watched closely to make sure you do not misuse, abuse, or become addicted to Demerol (meperidine tablets).
- This medicine may cause very bad and sometimes deadly breathing problems. Call your doctor right away if you have slow, shallow, or trouble breathing.
- The chance of very bad and sometimes deadly breathing problems may be greater when you first start Demerol (meperidine tablets) or anytime your dose is raised.
- Even one dose of Demerol (meperidine tablets) may be deadly if it is taken by someone else or by accident, especially in children. If Demerol (meperidine tablets) is taken by someone else or by accident, get medical help right away.
- Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
- Using Demerol (meperidine tablets) for a long time during pregnancy may lead to withdrawal in the newborn baby. This can be life-threatening. Talk with the doctor.
- This medicine has an opioid drug in it. Severe side effects have happened when opioid drugs were used with benzodiazepines or other drugs that may make you drowsy or slow your actions. This includes slow or troubled breathing and death. Benzodiazepines include drugs like alprazolam, diazepam, and lorazepam. Benzodiazepines may be used to treat many health problems like anxiety, trouble sleeping, or seizures. If you have questions, talk with your doctor.
- Many drugs interact with Demerol (meperidine tablets) and can raise the chance of side effects like deadly breathing problems. Talk with your doctor and pharmacist to make sure it is safe to use Demerol (meperidine tablets) with all of your drugs.
- Do not take with alcohol or products that have alcohol. Unsafe and sometimes deadly effects may happen.
- Get medical help right away if you feel very sleepy, very dizzy, or if you pass out. Caregivers or others need to get medical help right away if the patient does not respond, does not answer or react like normal, or will not wake up.
Uses of Demerol:
- It is used to ease pain.
- It may be given to you for other reasons. Talk with the doctor.
What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take Demerol?
- If you are allergic to Demerol (meperidine tablets); any part of Demerol (meperidine tablets); or any other drugs, foods, or substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had.
- If you have any of these health problems: Lung or breathing problems like asthma, trouble breathing, or sleep apnea; high levels of carbon dioxide in the blood; or stomach or bowel block or narrowing.
- If you are taking any of these drugs: Buprenorphine, butorphanol, nalbuphine, or pentazocine.
- If you have taken certain drugs for depression or Parkinson's disease in the last 14 days. This includes isocarboxazid, phenelzine, tranylcypromine, selegiline, or rasagiline. Very high blood pressure may happen.
- If you are taking any of these drugs: Linezolid or methylene blue.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with Demerol (meperidine tablets).
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take Demerol (meperidine tablets) with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.
What are some things I need to know or do while I take Demerol?
- Tell all of your health care providers that you take Demerol (meperidine tablets). This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
- Avoid driving and doing other tasks or actions that call for you to be alert until you see how Demerol (meperidine tablets) affects you.
- To lower the chance of feeling dizzy or passing out, rise slowly if you have been sitting or lying down. Be careful going up and down stairs.
- Do not take Demerol (meperidine tablets) with other strong pain drugs or if you are using a pain patch without talking to your doctor first.
- Do not use more than what your doctor told you to use. Do not use more often or longer than what you were told. Doing any of these things may raise the chance of very bad side effects.
- If you have been taking Demerol (meperidine tablets) for a long time or at high doses, it may not work as well and you may need higher doses to get the same effect. This is known as tolerance. Call your doctor if Demerol (meperidine tablets) stops working well. Do not take more than ordered.
- Long-term or regular use of opioid drugs like Demerol (meperidine tablets) may lead to dependence. Lowering the dose or stopping Demerol (meperidine tablets) all of a sudden may cause a greater risk of withdrawal or other severe problems. Talk to your doctor before you lower the dose or stop Demerol (meperidine tablets). You will need to follow your doctor’s instructions. Tell your doctor if you have more pain, mood changes, thoughts of suicide, or any other bad effects.
- This medicine may raise the chance of seizures in some people, including people who have had seizures in the past. Talk to your doctor to see if you have a greater chance of seizures while taking Demerol (meperidine tablets).
- If you are 65 or older, use Demerol (meperidine tablets) with care. You could have more side effects.
- This medicine may cause harm to the unborn baby if you take it while you are pregnant. If you are pregnant or you get pregnant while taking Demerol (meperidine tablets), call your doctor right away.
- Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding or plan to breast-feed. This medicine passes into breast milk and may harm your baby.
How is this medicine (Demerol) best taken?
Use Demerol (meperidine tablets) as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
- Take with or without food. Take with food if it causes an upset stomach.
What do I do if I miss a dose?
- If you take Demerol (meperidine tablets) on a regular basis, take a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
- If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
- Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.
- Many times Demerol (meperidine tablets) is taken on an as needed basis. Do not take more often than told by the doctor.
What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?
WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
- Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Very bad dizziness or passing out.
- Feeling confused.
- Chest pain or pressure.
- Fast, slow, or abnormal heartbeat.
- Trouble passing urine.
- Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not there).
- Mood changes.
- Severe constipation or stomach pain. These may be signs of a severe bowel problem.
- Noisy breathing.
- Trouble controlling body movements.
- Change in eyesight.
- A severe and sometimes deadly problem called serotonin syndrome may happen if you take Demerol (meperidine tablets) with certain other drugs. Call your doctor right away if you have agitation; change in balance; confusion; hallucinations; fever; fast or abnormal heartbeat; flushing; muscle twitching or stiffness; seizures; shivering or shaking; sweating a lot; severe diarrhea, upset stomach, or throwing up; or severe headache.
- Taking an opioid drug like Demerol (meperidine tablets) may lead to a rare but very bad adrenal gland problem. Call your doctor right away if you have very bad dizziness or passing out, very bad upset stomach or throwing up, or if you feel less hungry, very tired, or very weak.
- Long-term use of an opioid drug may lead to lower sex hormone levels. Call your doctor if you have a lowered interest in sex, fertility problems, no menstrual period (women), or change in sex ability (men).
What are some other side effects of Demerol?
All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
- Feeling dizzy, tired, or weak.
- Upset stomach or throwing up.
- Sweating a lot.
- Stomach pain.
- Dry mouth.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-332-1088. You may also report side effects at https://www.fda.gov/medwatch.
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
How do I store and/or throw out Demerol?
- Store at room temperature.
- Store in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.
- Protect from light.
- Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
- Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.
Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer
- If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
- Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else's drugs.
- This medicine comes with an extra patient fact sheet called a Medication Guide. Read it with care. Read it again each time Demerol (meperidine tablets) is refilled. If you have any questions about Demerol (meperidine tablets), please talk with the doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
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