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Home » List of Opiates » Demerol

Learn more about Demerol and its uses, side effects, and more.

Demerol is a drug used to treat moderate to severe pain. In the United States, it can be taken orally or through injection. The manufacturer has specified that the dosage for an adult is 50 to 150 mg every three or four hours when the drug is taken orally. Demerol is also called:

  • Meperidine
  • Pethidine


Demerol works quickly and can become addictive. Taking Demerol for a long time and/or taking more than the recommended doses increases the risk of addiction. Consequently, the United States government has labeled Demerol as a Schedule II controlled substance. Drugs in this category have a high potential for abuse and can result in severe physical and/or psychological dependence.


Demerol is a medication used to treat acute or short-term pain, especially back pain or muscle spasms. Because of the risk of addiction, Demerol should not be used to treat chronic pain. When taken orally, Demerol comes in tablet or liquid form. The tablets should be swallowed whole; the patient should not crush or chew them. If the patient is taking the liquid form, they need to use the measuring spoon or cup supplied to make sure they get the correct dose.

Side Effects

Demerol acts quickly and produces a feeling of euphoria called a “rush.” The drug can also affect the user’s ability to think clearly. Demerol can impair coordination and the ability to concentrate, and it can cause feelings of confusion. Demerol can also make the user feel drowsy or dizzy; driving or operating machinery while under its influence is not recommended. Other side effects can include the following:

  • Cramps and abdominal pain
  • Digestive tract problems like constipation or nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Twitching muscles
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dry mouth

demerol-opiate-detox-institute-2Severe side effects of Demerol use can include seizures, delirium and tremors. Symptoms of an overdose can include stupor, limp or weak muscles, extreme drowsiness, clammy and cold skin, hypothermia, and coma. An overdose of Demerol can slow or halt respiration and thus kill the user.

Tolerance and Dependence

If the user takes Demerol for a prolonged period, they eventually develop a tolerance for the drug. They begin to need to take increasing amounts of the drug to get the same relief from pain. That tolerance is accompanied by a physical dependence caused by changes in the user’s brain. A user dependent on Demerol needs the drug to stay free of pain.

A person addicted to Dermerol will look for ways to get more of the drug or intensify its effects. Users seeking to do the latter may do the following:

  • Chew the tablets
  • Crush the tablets and dissolve the powder in water to inject it
  • Crush the tablets and snort the powder

A person trying to get more Demerol may pretend to lose prescriptions in order to get new ones. They may also visit multiple doctors to get prescriptions from them.

Withdrawal Symptoms

The withdrawal symptoms associated with Demerol are very similar to the withdrawal symptoms for all narcotic pain medicines. They can include the following:

  • Fast heart rate
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • High blood pressure
  • Pain in the bones and muscles
  • Anxiety and restlessness
  • Tremors
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea