• Generic Name or Active Ingridient: Meperidine
Drug Class: Meperidine > Fully Synthetic Opioid > Opioids > Opioid Agonist > Analgesic.

Meperidine is a narcotic pain reliever, similar to morphine. Meperidine is prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain. This medication is not intended for long-term use to treat chronic pain. Meperidine is Demerol without any Tylenol or aspirin in it. Meperidine is available only by prescription. Learn More About Meperidine Uses


Physicians typically prescribe 25 to 150 mg of meperidine orally, intramuscular, subcutaneously or intravenously every three to four hours as needed. Meperidine syrup is also available. Oral meperidine is only half as effective as intravenous solution, so oral therapy is discouraged. Since meperidine is prescribed to be taken on an as-needed basis, people who have used meperidine for a very short amount of time should be able to miss a dose without any problems. However, meperidine can be habit-forming; people who have used this opiate for a long period of time or for recreational purposes may suffer unpleasant withdrawal symptoms soon after missing a dose.

Meperidine safety has not been established in children. Newborns and young children may be more prone to respiratory depression when taking meperidine. Elderly patients may be more prone to liver and kidney problems, exacerbated by meperidine use.

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Meperidine works by binding with opiate receptors in your brain and central nervous system. This changes the way your brain perceives pain. You may also feel a euphoric, relaxed sensation when taking meperidine. More About How Meperidine Works


Tell your doctor if you are allergic to Meperidine or any other medication. Report your meperidine use to dentists or surgeons before undergoing surgical procedures.

Tell your physician if you have had these medical conditions

  • Asthma, COPD, Sleep Apnea or Other Breathing Disorders.
  • Liver or Kidney disease.
  • Underactive Thyroid.
  • Curvature of the Spine.
  • A History of Head Injury or Brain Tumor.
  • Epilepsy or Other Seizure Disorder.
  • Low Blood Pressure.
  • Gallbladder Disease.
  • Addison's Disease or Other Adrenal Gland Disorders.
  • Enlarged Prostate.
  • Urinary Problems.
  • Mental Illness.
  • A History of Drug or Alcohol Addiction.

Meperidine can make you dizzy or drowsy. Be careful when rising to a standing position. Do not operate heavy machinery until you know how meperidine makes you feel.

Do not consume alcohol while taking meperidine. Meperidine will enhance the effect alcohol and CNS depressants have on your body. CNS depressants include medicines for colds and allergies, sedatives, tranquilizers and pain medicines.

Meperidine may cause constipation. Drink six to eight glasses of water daily to reduce constipation. Discuss increasing your dietary fiber with your physician or nutritionist.

This drug can be habit-forming, especially if you take it for long periods of time. Tell your doctor if meperidine stops controlling your pain effectively – this may be a sign of increased tolerance. Do not increase your dose without discussing it with your physician.

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Seek emergency medical care if you suffer an allergic reaction to meperidine. Symptoms include hives, difficulty breathing and swelling of your face, lips, tongue or throat.

Stopping meperidine use suddenly may cause unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Whenever possible, wean yourself from meperidine by taking smaller doses further apart. If you cannot comfortably stop using meperidine, consult with your doctor or qualified in-patient or out-patient rehabilitation center. More Warnings About Using Meperidine

Drug Interactions

Do not take meperidine if you have taken MAO inhibitors like furazolidone, isocarboxazid, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, or tranylcypromine in the past 14 days. MAO inhibitor brand names include Furoxone, Marplan, Nardil and Azilect. Taking meperidine may have serious consequences if any traces of MAO inhibitors are present in your system.

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Side effects

You may experience side effects while taking meperidine. Contact your doctor or local emergency room if you have serious side effects, including:

  • Shallow Breathing.
  • Slow Heartbeat
  • Seizures
  • Cold, Clammy Skin
  • Hallucinations or Confusion.
  • Severe Weakness or Dizziness.
  • Fainting.
  • Feeling Light-headed.

Less serious side effects may occur. Talk to your health care provider if these side effects become severe or do not go away on their own. Less serious side effects include:

  • Constipation
  • Loss of Appetite, Nausea, Vomiting.
  • Dizziness, Headache.
  • Dry Mouth.
  • Sweating.
  • Itching.
  • Urinating Less than Normal.
  • Loss of Interest in Sex.

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If you suspect that you or someone you know has taken an overdose of meperidine, seek emergency assistance immediately. Contact your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 or go to the emergency room. While at the hospital, you can expect emergency, life-saving treatments including activated charcoal, artificial respiration, fluids, laxatives, medicine to lower meperidine levels in the blood, medicine to reverse the effect of the meperidine or a tube through inserted the mouth into the stomach to wash out the stomach. Overdose symptoms include:

  • Extreme Drowsiness.
  • Muscle Weakness.
  • Confusion.
  • Cold and Clammy Skin.
  • Pinpoint Pupils.
  • Shallow Breathing.
  • Slow Heart Rate.
  • Fainting.
  • Coma.

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Meperidine carries a significant risk for abuse and physical as well as psychological dependence. Pharmaceutical companies legally manufacture meperidine for licit use as a pain reliever but abusers obtain meperidine through forged prescriptions, bogus prescription call-ins to pharmacies, "doctor shopping" as well as theft from pharmacies and friends. Read More About Meperidine Abuse


People who use meperidine by prescription to treat pain are not likely to develop mental dependence but may develop physical dependence. You may experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking meperidine, especially if you have been using high doses or taking the opioid for a long period of time. Symptoms vary in intensity. Withdrawal is a normal, predictable, physical sign of dependency, not necessarily a sign of willful abuse. Withdrawal symptoms may prevent you from quitting meperidine without medical assistance.


Dependency and addiction to Meperidine is often difficult to overcome on your own, especially if you have been taking large doses or using these opioids for a long time. Fortunately, there are in-patient and out-patient treatment facilities where trained professionals can minimize withdrawal symptoms, detoxify your body and give you the tools you need to live drug-free. Detoxification, rehabilitation and counseling are effective therapies to treat addiction to Meperidine and other opiates.

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Keep Meperidine away from excessive heat and moisture. Do not keep this drug in your bathroom or car. Store Meperidine away from children, pets and adults who might accidently or purposefully consume the drug. Do not share Meperidine with others, especially with individuals with a history of alcohol or drug abuse. Keep track of your medication, taking note of any missing doses.

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