Meperidine Overdose

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Meperidine is a prescription, generic drug. It’s available as brand-name drugs like Demerol. While Demerol is less commonly used in medical settings than it was in previous decades, it is still occasionally used. Meperidine is an opioid. Opioids are also called narcotics, and these drugs have powerful pain-relieving effects but risks as well. Meperidine is intended to be a short-term treatment for acute pain management. It shouldn’t be used for patients with chronic pain, and it’s not intended as an ongoing pain medication. Meperidine is available as an injectable solution, a liquid taken orally and also a tablet. Meperidine is a Schedule II controlled substance in the U.S., as are most prescription opioids. Meperidine is habit-forming and can lead to both physical and psychological dependence.

When someone uses meperidine, it activates opioid receptors and changes the sending of pain signals. Meperidine also slows down the central nervous system. Some of the side effects of meperidine can include nausea, vomiting, itching, drowsiness and sedation. Coordination problems and constipation are common as well. Before someone is prescribed a prescription opioid like meperidine, their doctors should go over any other substances they use regularly as well as any history of substance misuse that may exist.

Meperidine Overdose

Not only is it possible to overdose on meperidine, but the potential is somewhat high, especially if certain risk factors exist. There were more than 64,000 drug overdose deaths in 2016, and the majority of those were related to opioids and synthetic opioids. Overdoses are so common with opioids because the drugs directly affect the area of the brain that controls breathing. If someone uses such a high dose of meperidine that their body isn’t able to metabolize it fast enough, respiratory depression can become so profound that the individual overdoses. During an opioid overdose, there is limited oxygen going to the brain and other organ systems, which can cause extensive damage. While anyone using meperidine or any other opioid can overdose, particular risk factors can make the chances of an overdose occurring even higher. Opioid overdose risk factors include:

  • Crushing the drug to snort it or dissolving it an injecting it
  • Using very high doses of meperidine or any opioid
  • Taking doses more frequently than instructed
  • Taking meperidine without a prescription
  • Mixing meperidine with alcohol
  • Using meperidine with other prescription central nervous system depressants like benzodiazepines or sleep aids
  • If someone stopped using opioids and then they start up again, they’re at a higher risk of overdosing because their tolerance has declined

The signs and symptoms of a meperidine overdose are similar to what happens when someone overdoses on any opioid. The signs and symptoms of a meperidine overdose usually involve problems with breathing. This can include shallow breathing or breathing that seems labored. Slow or stopped breathing are also indicative of a meperidine overdose. Other possible signs and symptoms of a meperidine overdose can include:

  • Tiny “pinpoint” pupils
  • Nodding off
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Delirium
  • No responsiveness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Gurgling or snoring sounds
  • Faint or weak pulse
  • Extreme nausea or vomiting
  • Spasms or convulsions
  • Extreme dizziness
  • Bluish-tinted lips or fingernails

It’s important to realize that people experiencing an overdose from meperidine might not show all of the above symptoms, but if an overdose is even suspected, it’s important to seek emergency medical treatment right away. There are opioid reversal drugs that can be administered such as Narcan, but even when someone is given a reversal drug, they still need emergency medical care to monitor vitals and treat any other damage that may have occurred. The longer someone goes during an overdose without receiving proper care, the more likely they are to suffer brain damage or die.

The cycle of addiction and the fear that comes with it don’t have to continue being your reality or the reality for your family. Contact The Recovery Village to make the first step toward change.

Meperidine Overdose
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