Demerol is a medication prescribed to patients to relieve moderate to severe acute pain. It should only be administered to treat sudden episodes of pain before and during surgery or other procedures. Demerol is classified as an opioid analgesic similar to morphine. It effectively reduces pain by changing the way the brain and body respond to pain.
Just like beginning treatment with any new medication, starting Demerol may produce side effects in some patients. The most common side effects of Demerol are nausea, vomiting, constipation, sweating, lightheadedness, dizziness, drowsiness, and pain or redness at the injection site. These do not typically require medical care, as they should dissipate over time. Promptly notify your doctor if any of these common side effects persist or worsen over time.
More serious side effects associated with taking Demerol are relatively uncommon. It is, however, important to be aware of them so they may be identified in case of an emergency. Tell your doctor right away if you experience any of the following serious side effects after taking Demerol: mood changes, agitation, confusion, hallucinations, stomach or abdominal pain, difficulty urinating, slow or irregular heartbeat, tremors, vision changes, loss of appetite, unusual tiredness, and weight loss. Seek emergency medical attention if you notice fainting, seizures, slow or shallow breathing, severe drowsiness, or have difficulty waking from sleep.
Patients who are no longer interested in treating their pain with Demerol should consult their doctor on how to end treatment and available alternatives. Patients should never adjust their dosage levels or treatment schedule without medical consent. This also means patients should never abruptly stop taking Demerol, as this can produce unwanted withdrawal symptoms. Usually, doctors will gradually lower a patient’s Demerol dose to give the body ample time to adjust to less and less of the medication.
Common withdrawal symptoms of Demerol include anxiety, paranoid thinking, agitation, insomnia, restlessness, nausea, vomiting, runny nose, runny eyes, shortness of breath, muscle aches, sweating, chills, dry mouth, increased blood pressure, hallucinations, and more. Remember, do not stop taking Demerol without assistance from your doctor as your risk for experiencing these side effects will increase.
The Demerol withdrawal timeline and symptom durations are different for every patient due to their unique physiology. Most patients, however, begin to experience withdrawal symptoms of Demerol within the first 24 hours of their last dose. For others, it may start as quickly as a few hours after their last dose of Demerol. Demerol withdrawal symptoms will likely peak after a few days and subside within a week or two.
If you are having trouble managing Demerol withdrawal symptoms, it may be necessary to enter a medically assisted detoxification program. This program gives patients a safe place to detox from Demerol while being able to consult with medically trained staff. Remember, each patient experiences withdrawal differently. For this reason, never be afraid to ask for help during this potentially difficult time.
Always keep an updated list of your current medications, including herbal products or over the counter drugs, and share this with your doctor. This is important because some substances may cause an interaction with Demerol.
Products which have been shown to interact with Demerol include pain medications such as pentazocine, nalbuphine, butorphanol, and naltrexone.
In addition, using MAO inhibitors with Demerol can cause dangerous, if not fatal, drug interactions. Specifically avoid the following MAO inhibitors during your Demerol treatment: isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue moclobemide, phenelzine, procarbazine, rasagiline, safinamide, selegiline, and tranylcypromine. Do not take most MAO inhibitors for at least two weeks before starting treatment with Demerol. As is always recommended, check with your doctor if you have questions about the safety of mixing certain substances.
Finding a Demerol center to fit your needs is an integral part of each patient’s recovery. You may want to set up a meeting with your doctor to discuss what features you should look for in a Demerol center. Other factors, such as how long you have been using Demerol and your Demerol dosage levels, are also important to bring up during this discussion.
If you or someone you know is struggling with Demerol addiction or another substance use disorder, seek help as soon as possible. The Recovery Village has many treatment options for those looking to live happier, healthier, substance-free lives.
The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.