Demerol Effects – What are the Dangers of Taking This Painkiller

Last Updated: June 10, 2020

Authored by Sharon Levy, MD, MPH

Demerol is a highly addictive opioid painkiller. Doctors most commonly prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain. This is especially before and after surgical procedures. Due to its highly addictive properties, one should only use Demerol for a short period.

Short-Term Demerol Effects

Demerol use can cause severe and even life-threatening side effects.

  • Depressed breathing
  • Slow heart rate
  • Drowsiness
  • Passing out
  • Hallucinations
  • Fertility problems
  • Mood changes
  • Impotence
  • Libido issues
  • Irregular menstrual cycle
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Skin rash
  • Sweating
  • Dry mouth
  • Seizures
  • Cognitive problems
  • Overdose
  • Organ failure
  • Death

Is it noticed that a person who uses Demerol is suffering from certain conditions? They might be breathing problems, feeling drowsy, or losing consciousness. In this case, call 9-1-1 right away because they might have an overdose.
One of Demerol’s most important short-term effects is instant pain relief. In fact, it takes about 15 minutes for one to feel some sort of Demerol effects. Because it affects the reward system in the brain, this medicine can induce a feeling of euphoria and joy. This is one of the reasons why this drug is highly abused.
Other short- term Demerol effects include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Stomach problems
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Low blood pressure
  • Low heart rate
  • Constricted pupils

Mixing Demerol with other drugs or alcohol can intensify the effects of the medicine. In some cases, this can even be fatal.

Demerol Long-Term Effects

Long- term Demerol use can cause tolerance and addiction. Sometimes, a person might use Demerol for recreational purposes without prescription. In this case, they will need to increase their dosage in order to feel the same effects. They refer to this to as tolerance. Tolerance is one of the first signs of addiction.

This is even though they are aware that what they are doing is wrong. Also, they may suddenly stop taking the drug. As a result, they will experience severe and unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.
Other negative long-term Demerol effects include:

  1. Brain damage
  2. Hypoxia
  3. Anxiety
  4. Depression

Demerol Addiction Treatment

The first step toward recovery is detox. One should conduct Demerol detox in a specialized facility under strict medical care. Doctors should check the vital signs all the time. Of course, going “cold turkey” is not an option. In some cases, it is possible to avoid potentially life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. The physician will slowly taper the dose until the drug is entirely out of the system.

Once the detox period is over, doctors might advise the person to sign into an inpatient rehab clinic. In this case, it is a controlled, drug- free environment. As a result, a Demerol user will get all the help to stay on the right track.
Doctors will base the therapy on counseling, individual, and group therapy. First, the main goal is to determine why addiction occurred. Then, it is needed to establish new, healthy ways of dealing with everyday problems.
Another important factor in a person’s recovery is family therapy. This type of therapy can be very effective. It is because it establishes a strong support system for a struggling addict. Of course, it is once the addicted are out of the rehab program.

Page Sources

  1. Kevin J. Friesen, Jamie Falk, Shawn Bugden. The safety of meperidine prescribing in older adults: A longitudinal population-based study. BMC Geriatrics. 2016.
  2. Konrad H. Schlick, Thomas M. Hemmen, Patrick D. Lyden. Seizures and Meperidine: Overstated and Underutilized. Therapeutic Hypothermia and Temperature Management. 2015 Dec 1; 5(4): 223–227.

Published on: April 21st, 2017

Updated on: June 10th, 2020

About Author

Sharon Levy, MD, MPH

After successful graduation from Boston University, MA, Sharon gained a Master’s degree in Public Health. Since then, Sharon devoted herself entirely to the medical niche. Sharon Levy is also a certified addiction recovery coach.


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