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Meperidine (By mouth)

Meperidine (me-PER-i-deen)

Relieves moderate to severe pain. This medicine is a narcotic pain reliever.

Brand Name(s):

Demerol, Demerol Hydrochloride, Meperitab

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

This medicine is not right for everyone. Do not use it if you had an allergic reaction to meperidine, if you have severe breathing problems or paralytic ileus. This medicine should not be used to relieve chronic (long-lasting or recurrent) pain.

How to Use This Medicine:

Liquid, Tablet

  • Your doctor will tell you how much medicine to use. Do not use more than directed.
  • Oral liquid: Measure the oral liquid medicine with a marked measuring spoon, oral syringe, or medicine cup.
  • The oral liquid may cause your mouth to feel numb. Mix your medicine with a half glass of water to reduce the numbing effect.
  • Tablet: Swallow whole. Do not crush, break, or chew it.
  • Drink plenty of liquids to help avoid constipation.
  • This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Ask your pharmacist for a copy if you do not have one.
  • Missed dose: Take a dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then and take a regular dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.
  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Make sure you store the medicine in a safe and secure place to prevent others from getting it.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Do not use this medicine if you are using or have used an MAO inhibitor within the past 14 days.
  • Some medicines can affect how meperidine works. Tell your doctor if you are using any of the following:
    • Acyclovir, carbamazepine, cimetidine, erythromycin, ketoconazole, mirtazapine, phenytoin, rifampin, ritonavir, St John's wort, tramadol, or trazodone
    • Benzodiazepine medicine
    • Diuretic (water pill)
    • Medicine to treat anxiety, depression, or mental health problems
    • Phenothiazine medicine
    • Triptan medicine to treat migraine headaches
  • Tell your doctor if you use anything else that makes you sleepy. Some examples are allergy medicine, narcotic pain medicine, and alcohol. Tell your doctor if you are using buprenorphine, butorphanol, nalbuphine, pentazocine, or a muscle relaxer.
  • Do not drink alcohol while you are using this medicine.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have kidney disease, liver disease, breathing problems, heart rhythm problems, Addison disease, pheochromocytoma (an adrenal gland tumor), prostate problems, sickle cell anemia, stomach or digestive problems, trouble urinating, thyroid problems, or a history of depression or mental health problems. Tell your doctor if you have had seizures, a head injury, a recent surgery, or have been addicted to alcohol or drugs.
  • This medicine may cause the following problems:
    • High risk of overdose, which can lead to death
    • Respiratory depression (serious breathing problem that can be life-threatening)
    • Serotonin syndrome (when used with certain medicines)
  • This medicine can be habit-forming. Do not use more than your prescribed dose. Call your doctor if you think your medicine is not working.
  • Do not stop using this medicine suddenly. Your doctor will need to slowly decrease your dose before you stop it completely.
  • Tell any doctor or dentist who treats you that you are using this medicine. You may need to stop using this medicine several days before you have surgery or medical tests.
  • This medicine may make you dizzy, drowsy, or lightheaded. Do not drive or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how this medicine affects you. Change positions slowly when you get up from a sitting or lying position.
  • This medicine may cause constipation, especially with long-term use. Ask your doctor if you should use a laxative to prevent and treat constipation.
  • This medicine could cause infertility. Talk with your doctor before using this medicine if you plan to have children.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Anxiety, restlessness, fast heartbeat, fever, sweating, muscle spasms, twitching, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, seeing or hearing things that are not there
  • Extreme dizziness or weakness, shallow breathing, slow or uneven heartbeat, sweating, cold or clammy skin, seizures
  • Severe confusion, lightheadedness, dizziness, fainting
  • Severe constipation or stomach pain

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Dizziness, drowsiness, or sleepiness

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088


Last Updated: 9/4/2017
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