GENERIC NAME: MEPERIDINE TABLET - ORAL (meh-PAIR-id-een)
BRAND NAME(S): Demerol
USES: This medication is used to treat moderate to severe pain. Meperidine acts on certain centers in the brain to give you pain relief. This medication is a narcotic pain reliever similar to morphine.
HOW TO USE: Take this medication by mouth, usually every 3 to 4 hours as needed or as directed by your doctor. You may take this drug with or without food. If you have nausea, you may take this drug with food, although this may cause your body to absorb less of the drug and get less benefit from it. Consult your doctor or pharmacist about other ways to decrease nausea (e.g., antihistamines, lying down for 1-2 hours with as little head movement as possible).The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to therapy. Pain medications work best if they are used as the first signs of pain occur. If you wait until the pain has worsened, the medication may not work as well.You may also take long-acting narcotic medications or use narcotic patches for ongoing pain if so directed by your doctor. In that case, this medication might be used for sudden (breakthrough) pain only as needed. Also follow your doctor's or pharmacist's instructions for safely using non-narcotic pain relievers (e.g., naproxen, ibuprofen). Ask your doctor if you have any questions.This medication may cause withdrawal reactions, especially if it has been used regularly for a long time or in high doses. In such cases, withdrawal symptoms (such as restlessness, runny nose, watering eyes, trouble sleeping, severe abdominal/muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, rapid breathing, and fast heartbeat) may occur if you suddenly stop using this medication. To prevent withdrawal reactions, your doctor may reduce your dose gradually. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details, and report any withdrawal reactions immediately.Though very unlikely, this medication can also be habit-forming and may result in abnormal drug-seeking behavior (addiction). To lessen the risk of becoming addicted, do not increase your dose, take it more frequently, or use it for a longer time than prescribed. Properly stop the medication when so directed.When used for an extended period, this medication may not work as well and may require different dosing. Talk with your doctor if this medication stops working well.Inform your doctor if your pain persists or worsens.
SIDE EFFECTS: Nausea, vomiting, constipation, dry mouth, flushing, sweating, lightheadedness, dizziness, and drowsiness may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly.To prevent constipation, maintain a diet adequate in fiber, drink plenty of water, and exercise. If you become constipated while using this drug, consult your pharmacist for help in selecting a laxative (e.g., stimulant-type with stool softener).Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: slow/irregular/fast heartbeat, mental/mood changes (e.g., confusion, hallucinations, nervousness), numbness, shakiness (tremors), severe stomach/abdominal pain, trouble urinating, change in the amount of urine.Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including: slow/shallow breathing, fainting, seizures.A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.In the US -Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
PRECAUTIONS: Before taking meperidine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.Before taking this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: abdominal problems (e.g., gallbladder disease, pancreatitis), adrenal gland problem (e.g., Addison's disease, pheochromocytoma), large blood loss (e.g., recent blood donation, stomach/intestinal bleeding), brain disorders (e.g., seizures, head injury, tumor, increased intracranial pressure), heart problems (e.g., irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure), kidney disease, liver disease, breathing problems (e.g., asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease-COPD, emphysema), mental/mood disorders (e.g., depression, toxic psychosis), personal or family history of regular use/abuse of drugs/alcohol, sickle cell anemia, stomach/intestinal problems (e.g., diarrhea due to infection, paralytic ileus), a certain spinal problem (kyphoscoliosis), underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), trouble urinating (e.g., due to enlarged prostate or narrowing of the urethra).Meperidine is usually only used for a short time. Repeated or high doses may cause drug levels to build up in the body and cause serious side effects such as seizures and shaking. Caution is advised if this medication is used for conditions which require long-term or high-dosage treatment (e.g., sickle cell anemia, burns, cancer). Consult your doctor or pharmacist for details.This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Avoid alcoholic beverages.To lower your risk of dizziness and lightheadedness, get up slowly when rising from a sitting or lying position.Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially confusion, dizziness, drowsiness, and slow/shallow breathing.Caution is advised when using this drug in children because they may be more sensitive to the effects of the drug, especially drowsiness.Before using this medication, women of childbearing age should talk with their doctor(s) about the risks and benefits. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or if you plan to become pregnant. During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. It may slightly increase the risk of birth defects if used during the first two months of pregnancy. Also, using it for a long time or in high doses near the expected delivery date may harm the unborn baby. To lessen the risk, take the smallest effective dose for the shortest possible time. Tell the doctor right away if you notice any symptoms in your newborn baby such as slow/shallow breathing, irritability, abnormal/persistent crying, vomiting, or diarrhea.This drug passes into breast milk and is unlikely to harm a nursing infant. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Latest MedicineNet News
DRUG INTERACTIONS: Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.Some products that may interact with this drug include: acyclovir, cimetidine, narcotic antagonists (such as naltrexone), certain other pain medications (e.g., narcotic agonist/antagonist such as butorphanol/nalbuphine), phenytoin, ritonavir.Taking MAO inhibitors with this medication may cause a serious (possibly fatal) drug interaction. Avoid taking MAO inhibitors (isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue, moclobemide, phenelzine, procarbazine, rasagiline, selegiline, tranylcypromine) during treatment with this medication. Most MAO inhibitors should also not be taken for two weeks before treatment with this medication. Ask your doctor when to start or stop taking this medication.Also report the use of drugs that might increase seizure risk when combined with meperidine such as isoniazid (INH), phenothiazines (e.g., thioridazine), theophylline, or tricyclic antidepressants (e.g., amitriptyline), among others. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for details.The risk of serious side effects (such as slow/shallow breathing, severe drowsiness/dizziness) may be increased if this medication is taken with other products that may also affect breathing or cause drowsiness. Therefore, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking other products such as alcohol, medicine for sleep or anxiety (such as alprazolam, diazepam, zolpidem), muscle relaxants, and other narcotic pain relievers (such as codeine).Check the labels on all your medicines (e.g., cough-and-cold products) because they may contain drowsiness-causing ingredients. Ask your pharmacist about using those products safely.This medication may interfere with certain laboratory tests (e.g., amylase, lipase tests), possibly causing false test results. Make sure laboratory personnel and all your doctors know you use this drug.
OVERDOSE: If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: slow breathing, slow heartbeat, seizure, loss of consciousness.
NOTES: Do not share this medication with others. It is against the law.This medication has been prescribed for your current condition only. Do not use it later for another condition unless told to do so by your doctor. A different medication may be necessary in that case.
STORAGE: Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets.Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. To discard this medication, the FDA recommends flushing down the toilet or pouring into a drain. However, consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
Information last revised October 2013. Copyright(c) 2013 First Databank, Inc.
Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter
Treatment & Diagnosis
Medications & Supplements
Prevention & Wellness
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.