Meperidine Withdrawal And Detox

Meperidine is a generic opioid drug, most commonly known as the brand-name Demerol. Meperidine is prescribed to treat acute pain that’s severe enough to warrant the use of an opioid. Meperidine binds to opioid receptors, located through a person’s brain, body and spinal cord. It can change how pain signals are sent from the body to the brain, and in that sense, opioids are powerful pain relievers. Opioids do have a significant list of possible risks associated with their use, however. Opioids are highly addictive, and they can also lead to the formation of a dependence. Due to how opioids interact with the brain and certain brain chemicals, an individual may become dependent on these effects. The brain alters its own functionality in response to the effects of the opioid drug. If someone is dependent on meperidine and they stop using it suddenly, they’re likely to experience withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms can occur if someone is using this medication exactly as prescribed and instructed. Common meperidine withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Runny nose
  • Aches and pains
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Agitation
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Tremors
  • Strong drug cravings

People may wonder what the meperidine withdrawal timeline might look like. Opioid withdrawal isn’t typically deadly, but it is uncomfortable, and it can be difficult to manage. The meperidine withdrawal timeline can vary depending on certain factors, including how long someone used the drug, the dosages they were regularly using and whether they’re also using any other substances. A general guide for a meperidine withdrawal timeline indicates symptoms will typically start anywhere from 12 hours after the last dose up to two days after someone last took meperidine. During the first one to two days after stopping meperidine, a person may experience nausea, vomiting, restlessness and some tremors. During days three to four, withdrawal symptoms will usually continue and then peak within the first week. For most people, symptoms will subside after one to two weeks. However, some people may experience ongoing symptoms, particularly ones that are psychological such as anxiety and depression.

It’s important before stopping meperidine to seek guidance from a medical professional to make it less uncomfortable and to reduce the risk of complications. Most physicians are going to recommend that patients manage withdrawal symptoms by tapering down their dosage of the drug gradually, as opposed to stopping suddenly, which is called going cold turkey. It’s important not to try and taper down a dosage of meperidine without medical guidance, however, because it can lead to severe symptoms. Certain medications may be taken over the counter or by prescription to ease withdrawal symptoms. For people who have been taking opioids for a long time or who are more likely to have severe withdrawal symptoms, a medically supervised detox may be the best option. A medically supervised detox provides around-the-clock care and supervision. This kind of setting increases the chances of a person successfully detoxing from meperidine so they can then begin addiction treatment.

With some drugs, there are specific, FDA-approved medications that can be provided to patients during detox. Opioid withdrawal drugs include methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone. Methadone and buprenorphine can help reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings because they act as milder opioids. However, there is some risk of addiction and dependence with these drugs, which is something to be aware of. Naltrexone is a drug that is an opiate antagonist, so it blocks the effects of opioids and can reduce cravings. Along with FDA-approved opioid withdrawal drugs, if a patient receives medical care while they detox, other medicines may be given as needed. Clonidine is a drug often used during detox to ease a variety of withdrawal symptoms and others are available as well.

If someone decides a medical meperidine detox center is right for them, they have quite a few choices. Medical detox is a safe and low-stress environment where patients receive medical care and attention. When choosing a meperidine center, an important thing to consider is whether or not it’s part of a treatment center. Detox isn’t addiction treatment. Rather, it is a place where withdrawal symptoms can be treated so the patient can then begin addiction treatment without substances in their system. If the medical detox isn’t part of an addiction treatment center, the patient may have to be transferred somewhere else after detox. A meperidine center should be equipped to assess and treat mental health conditions as well as the physical symptoms of withdrawal.

If you have questions about opioid withdrawal or detox, or anything related to addiction and treatment, we’re here to talk now.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a 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 provider.

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