Demerol is the brand name for Meperidine Hydrochloride. It is classified as a narcotic used to reduce severe pain.

Adverse Effects of Demerol

Demerol is habit-forming. Physical and psychological addictions and withdrawal symptoms have been seen in testing. The impacts on pregnant women have not been thoroughly studied, but Meperidine Hydrochloride is known to traverse the placental barrier and, therefore, can impact developing fetuses. Meperidine Hydrochloride can also be passed onto newborns by breastfeeding.

Newborns and Demerol

Demerol can adversely affect a woman giving birth and her baby. As a Schedule II narcotic, Demerol is a very powerful opiate, and a newborn whose mother was administered Demerol during the delivery may encounter signs of withdrawal, including:

  • Excessive crying
  • Rapid breathing
  • Fever
  • Hyperactive reflexes
  • Increased amount of stools
  • Sneezing
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting
  • Yawning

Demerol Side Effects and Risks

Adults who are treated with Demerol may suffer comparable side effects; i.e.:

  • Lightheadedness
  • Constipation, urinary retention
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Euphoria or dysphoria
  • Facial flushing
  • Headache
  • Queasiness, vomiting
  • Sedation
  • Sweating
  • Weakness

At a too-high dose, Demerol can cause life-threatening respiratory depression. It is roughly as strong an analgesic as morphine. However, it has a more rapid onset of action, and this advantage is why it is still sometimes preferred as an analgesic over other opiate drugs.

Demerol is distributed in tablet form or as an injection (subcutaneous, intravenous, or intramuscular).

Demerol can cause head injury and increased intracranial pressure. The respiratory depressant effects of meperidine and its capacity to elevate spinal fluid pressure may be markedly magnified in the presence of head injury, other intracranial lesions, or a preexisting increase in intracranial pressure. Similarly, narcotics produce negative reactions that may worsen a patient’s clinical course with head injuries. In such patients, meperidine must be used with extreme vigilance and only if its use is deemed necessary.

Demerol can also negatively impact asthma and other respiratory conditions. Demerol should be used with extreme caution in patients with an acute asthmatic attack, patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or cor pulmonale, a substantially decreased respiratory reserve, and patients with preexisting respiratory depression and hypoxia or hypercapnia. In such patients, even usual medicinal doses of narcotics may reduce respiratory drive while raising airway resistance to the point of apnea.


Demerol can do severe damage to an adult, kid, or baby. A patient who is left with physical injuries due to treatment with the medication may be qualified for financial compensation for costs and losses such as:

  • Treatment for the damages or medical issues, including hospitalization
  • Lost work time
  • Lost income
  • Loss of future income; loss of a job
  • Rehabilitation — Physical and occupational
  • Help around the house has become essential due to the patient’s medical condition
  • In fatal cases, funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of a loved one
  • Emotional suffering

Addiction To Demerol

As with most prescription medications, many individuals do not realize they can develop an addiction to Demerol. Regular abuse of this painkiller can quickly lead to tolerance — directing the user to take more of the medication to feel its effects — and physical dependence. Physical dependence happens when the user has reached a condition where, if they stop taking Demerol or decrease their intake, they start to experience unwelcome withdrawal symptoms. Addiction to Demerol happens when the user begins to act in damaging ways to continue Demerol’s use.
Individuals who develop a Demerol addiction often exhibit drug-seeking behavior.

An addicted user may “lose” prescriptions to get new ones or visit the emergency room with a bogus or self-inflicted injury to get more of the medicine. They may also begin “doctor shopping,” visiting numerous physicians to get prescriptions from them.

A person addicted to Demerol may also:

  • Isolate themselves from loved ones to conceal their drug use
  • Continue using Demerol despite issues it’s causing with their fitness or associations
  • Spend a lot of cash on the drug or even steal to pay for it
  • Neglect duties and relationships while using or looking for the drug

Once a Demerol addiction has taken hold, users often have a problem stopping the drug — even if they want to. When addicted users stop taking Demerol, they’ll encounter severe withdrawal symptoms like anxiety and nausea. This causes many individuals to relapse in an attempt to feel better.

A medical detox treatment program can help Demerol users break this cycle and successfully get sober.

Understanding Demerol

Demerol is the brand name for an injectable form of Meperidine; an opioid painkiller referred to as Pethidine. Classified as a narcotic analgesic, the drug treats mild to severe pain and has effects comparable to morphine or oxycodone. Although Demerol is only one-tenth as powerful as morphine, it is short-acting and has a high abuse risk.

Demerol is seldom prescribed outside of a hospital setting.

As classified by the Controlled Substances Act, Demerol is a schedule II controlled substance — it cannot lawfully be acquired without a prescription. Some individuals who abuse Demerol buy it on the street under the names “Dillies,” “D,” or “Dust.”

Demerol comes in pill or liquid forms. The pills are circular in shape, white in color, and come in 50 mg or 100 mg strengths. As a liquid, Demerol comes in syrup or as an injectable solution; nevertheless, the injectable form is generally only administered by medical experts. When used as prescribed, Demerol tablets and syrup are taken orally.

Demerol Addiction Effects And Abuse

Many individuals unknowingly become addicted to painkillers like Demerol because they don’t recognize they’re abusing the substance. They may start taking the drug as prescribed for pain; once tolerance sets in, they start increasing their dose to feel better relief. Ultimately, they develop a physical dependence on the drug, which is often (but not always) followed by a psychological dependence — in other words, they’re hooked.

Any nonmedical or nonprescribed use of Demerol is substance abuse.

Using Demerol in more elevated doses than prescribed, using Demerol more frequently than prescribed, or continuing use after treatment has ended all constitute abuse of this drug.

While Demerol tablets are intended for oral consumption, some individuals abuse the drug by:

  • Chewing the tablets
  • Crushing the tablets and snorting the powder
  • Crushing the tablets, dissolving the powder in water, and then injecting the solution

Abusing Demerol in those ways strengthens its properties. A euphoric, robust “rush” hits the user, followed by prolonged sedation. This quick high and intense relaxation are the main reasons individuals abuse Demerol.

Demerol abuse is dangerous as it increases the risk of overdose. Taking extensive amounts of the drug can depress and halt respiratory function, which can be deadly. Other symptoms of Demerol overdose include:

  • Intense drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Feeble or limp muscles
  • Hypothermia
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Coma

Get medical attention immediately if you suspect a Demerol overdose.

Common Drug Combinations

Demerol is a strong painkiller and should not be combined with other drugs, such as alcohol or benzodiazepines, which increases the risk of cardiac arrest, excessive sedation, respiratory failure, coma, seizure, overdose, and even death.

Mixing stimulants with Demerol is extremely dangerous, as the drugs work against each other.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

The FDA recommends following your physician’s recommendations to avoid complications, such as addiction or passing the drug onto your child.

If you have developed adverse reactions to Demerol without being informed of its possible side effects, you should consider speaking with an experienced class action lawyer. A product liability attorney can help you recover damages for your injuries.