It can quell the strongest pain— the pain of childbirth, surgery, and severe injury. It has some intense side effects that can harm you just as much as it helps you. Its users can also develop strong addiction and tolerance to it.
Demerol is a doozy of a drug and we’re here to break it down for you. Read on to learn everything you need to know about Demerol.
What Is Demerol?
Most pain relievers function by preventing pain messages from being sent to your brain in the first place. That’s not how Demerol works. Demerol works to change the message that’s sent to your brain instead.
Demerol is the trade name for the synthetic drug meperidine or pethidine. It’s used to treat moderate to severe pain.
It’s an opioid analgesic, like morphine.
This drug masks the pain message, turning it into a message of euphoria. That means that during surgery or childbirth, the pain is certainly there, but the brain interprets it as a pleasant feeling.
How Is It Taken?
Demerol dosage depends on the method of ingestion. If you’re taking Demerol orally, tablets typically come in 50 mg or 100 mg doses. Liquid doses for injections come anywhere between 25 and 100 mg per ml, depending on your prescription.
Since Demerol is highly addictive, your doctor will likely start you at a low dosage-around 25 to 50 mg every four hours or so. An average dose is typically 100 mg every four hours.
Keep in mind that your doctor will only prescribe Demerol to be taken as needed. It’s not to be taken as a regular pain management drug and you shouldn’t take more than 600 mg within 24 hours.
Go to the emergency room immediately if you suspect a potential overdose.
Who Takes It?
Demerol is prescribed to manage moderate to severe pain, so it’s often given to birthing mothers. It’s also prescribed to those undergoing and recovering from painful surgeries, like colonoscopies or endoscopies.
Demerol can also be highly addicting. Even those who have been prescribed Demerol for an honest purpose run the risk of developing a dependency on the drug. It can be so intoxicating that even healthcare professionals have a history of abusing Demerol.
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A Brief History of Demerol
A German chemist named Otto Eisleb, concerned with creating an anticholinergic agent, first created Demerol in 1939. It wasn’t until a few years later that his contemporary, Otto Schaumann, noticed Demerol for its analgesic capabilities.
Throughout the 20th century, it’s been used for the treatment of severe pain. In fact, many physicians chose it over morphine because they thought Demerol was less addicting.
This turned out to be untrue. Demerol is just as addicting, if not more so. It can also cause serotonin syndrome, which is why most physicians choose morphine today.
Consequences of Demerol Abuse
What happens to the body and mind when Demerol is ingested? What does it feel like to use Demerol for pain? And, what does it feel like to develop a Demerol addiction?
Prescription medication side effects are different for everybody; you may or may not feel them. The most common, however, include:
- Slowed breathing
- Low blood pressure
- Blurry vision
Sometimes, side effects will go away on their own as your tolerance grows. If your side effects seem to worsen, consult your doctor immediately.
Demerol might affect your body in other ways. Here are the most common effects Demerol has:
- Careless behavior
- Shrunken pupils
When it comes to your mind, expect to feel loopy, euphoric, and high.
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Short-Term and Long-Term Health Effects
Demerol isn’t recommended for extended use. It has a whole slew of short and long-term health effects that you’ll want to avoid. Short-term effects include:
- Chronic sleepiness
- Passing out
- Slowed breathing
- And even coma
The long-term effects are even worse. Since Demerol is habit-forming, your body will build a tolerance to it after as little as two days. That means it will start to depend upon its presence to act normally.
If you don’t provide your body with the Demerol, it will start to go through withdrawal symptoms. These include:
- Muscle pain
- Bone pain
- Cold flashes
Think of your caffeine tolerance in the morning. You know that groggy feeling in the morning until you’ve had your morning cuppa? Opioid addiction is that times 100,000.
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Using Demerol With Other Drugs
In a medical setting, it’s not likely your physician will prescribe Demerol with any other drug. It’s most often used in a hospital or in a recovery setting on its own as a pain reliever.
Be sure to tell your doctor about any prescription or herbal drugs you take because Demerol can have some adverse reactions in combination with some drugs. These drugs, in particular, have been noted to react with Demerol:
- Parkinson’s drugs
- Liposomal morphine
- Potassium citrate
- and Talwin
Drinking alcohol with Demerol can worsen Demerol’s side effects, so limit or avoid alcohol entirely while taking it.
You should also keep in mind that grapefruit, both the fruit and its juice, can interact with Demerol negatively. The citric acid in the fruit actually affects your body’s ability to break down the drug. This could allow the drug to stay in your system longer than it’s meant to.
Which Drugs Are Commonly Used With Demerol?
When it comes to opioid abuse and other drugs, pairings depend on the demographic.
Demerol is sometimes abused by healthcare professionals, and in this demographic, it’s often taken with other medical injectable opioids like morphine.
In other socioeconomic situations, abusers turn to other opioids in pill form, like Oxycontin.
In teen abuse, Demerol is frequently used with heavy alcohol, cocaine, and, in the worst cases, heroine.
In every situation of abuse, though, there is always hope— the road doesn’t end there.
Treating Demerol Addiction
If you or someone you love is suffering from Demerol abuse or any other substance abuse, we can help you.
We’ll help you find detoxification services, both inpatient and outpatient services. We’ll also work with your insurance to ensure you’re getting the right treatment that’s covered by your plan.
Don’t delay. Reach out to one of our treatment specialists today.