Demerol

Generic Name: Meperidine

  • What is this medication and its most common uses?

    Demerol tablets are used for the relief of moderate to severe short-term pain.

    Demerol tablets are a federally controlled substance because they have abuse potential.

  • What should I know when beginning and continuing on this medication?

    How does this medication work?

    Demerol tablets work in your central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) and affect the way your body responds to pain.

    Demerol tablets are not used to treat pain that is expected to last a long period.

    What are the beneficial effects of this medication and when should I begin to have results?

    What: Demerol tablets have been shown to help relieve pain.

    When: Everyone responds differently to treatment, so try to be patient and follow your healthcare provider's directions. It is important that you take Demerol tablets exactly as your healthcare provider has prescribed.

    How do I know it is working?

    You may feel an improvement in your pain. This is a good indicator that the medicine is working. Your healthcare provider may also ask you questions from time to time to assess how well your symptoms are controlled with treatment.

  • What are the possible side effects of this medication?

    The following is not a full list of side effects. Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Only your healthcare provider can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this medication.

    More common side effects may include: lightheadedness, dizziness, sleepiness, nausea, vomiting, sweating.

    Less common side effects may include:

    Serious breathing problems with symptoms such as slowed or shallow breathing (little chest movement with breathing); feeling faint, dizzy, or confused; or other unusual symptoms.

    Sudden fall in your blood pressure with symptoms such as dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting when rising too quickly from a sitting or lying position.

    Demerol tablets may increase your heart rate or worsen seizures in people who have seizure disorders.

    Demerol tablets have abuse potential. If you have concerns, talk to your healthcare provider for more information about abuse and addiction. Do not share Demerol tablets with others and take steps to protect Demerol tablets from theft or misuse.

  • Who should not take this medication?

    Do not take Demerol tablets if you are allergic to them or any of their ingredients.

    Do not take Demerol tablets if you take another medicine called a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) (such as phenelzine, selegiline, or linezolid), a class of medications used to treat depression and other conditions. Do not start taking Demerol tablets if you stopped taking an MAOI in the last 2 weeks, unless directed to do so by your healthcare provider.

    Do not take Demerol tablets if you have severe breathing problems.

  • What should I tell my healthcare provider before I take the first dose of this medication?

    Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Demerol. Also, talk to your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, especially if you have trouble breathing or lung problems; a head injury or brain problems; heart, liver, kidney, thyroid, or adrenal gland (such as Addison's disease or pheochromocytoma [a tumor of the adrenal glands]) problems; seizures; sickle cell anemia; problems urinating or enlargement of your prostate; mental health problems; constipation; a history of drug or alcohol addiction or a family history of these problems; or if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your healthcare provider uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your healthcare provider's approval.

    Adults: The usual dose is 50 to 150 milligrams every 3 to 4 hours, as needed for pain.

    Your healthcare provider may adjust your dose as needed, until the desired effect is achieved.

    Children: Your healthcare provider will prescribe the appropriate dose for your child, based on his/ her weight.

    It is important that you do not stop taking this medication abruptly. If you need to change or stop taking this medication, it is important that you only do this with the guidance of your healthcare provider.

  • How should I take this medication?

    Take Demerol tablets exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not change your dose or stop taking Demerol tablets without first talking to your healthcare provider.

    When you stop taking Demerol tablets, flush the remaining tablets down the toilet.

  • What should I avoid while taking this medication?

    Do not drink alcohol or take prescription or over-the-counter medicines that contain alcohol while you are taking Demerol tablets.

    Do not drive a car, operate machinery, or engage in other dangerous activities until you know how Demerol tablets affect you.

  • What are the possible food and drug interactions associated with this medication?

    If Demerol tablets are taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your healthcare provider before combining Demerol tablets with the following: acyclovir, alcohol, certain pain medicines (such as buprenorphine, butorphanol, nalbuphine, or pentazocine), cimetidine, muscle relaxants (such as cyclobenzaprine or carisoprodol), other medicines that may make you sleepy (alprazolam, chlorpromazine, diazepam, or morphine), phenytoin, or ritonavir.

  • May I receive this medication if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    The effects of Demerol tablets during pregnancy are unknown. The chemicals in Demerol tablets may be found in your breast milk if you take the tablets while breastfeeding. Do not take Demerol tablets while you are breastfeeding. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of this medication?

    If you miss a dose of Demerol tablets, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and return to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take two doses at once.

  • How should I store this medication?

    Store at room temperature.

Meet the Pharmacists

I'm Shereen A. Gharbia, PharmD. Welcome to PDR Health!

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