Meperidine is in a category of medicines known as narcotic analgesics, a class of pain medications resembling morphine. The drug was formulated by chemists to imitate some medicinal properties of opium, a type of drug made from opium poppies. Meperidine works by altering the way the body senses pain and is prescribed to alleviate mild to severe pain. It is most frequently used in hospitals for patients who have just undergone surgery.
Meperidine is best known by its brand name, Demerol. It is a prescription drug with both legal and illegal usage trends and almost all illegal drugs have street names. In this regard, meperidine street names include Demmies, Pethidine and Mapergan. The street names for most drugs including Meperidine change on a daily basis so it is good to have an updated glossary of such terms.
Meperidine is normally taken by mouth or injected. Either way, the standard dosage for pain relief is 50-150mg every 3 to 4 hours as needed, with or without food. The oral forms of Meperidine include syrup and tablets ranging from 25-100 mg for each tablet. The syrup form of the drug contains 50 mg of meperidine per 5 ml of liquid. It is always important to follow the instructions on the prescription label cautiously and consult a doctor before using the drug.
The body reacts to meperidine more rapidly when it is injected, therefore the dosages are typically around half that of the oral forms, meaning that oral dosages are about half as effective as injectable doses. Injections can be given under the skin, in the muscle, or straight into the bloodstream. Factors such as disease state, age, related drug therapy as well as tolerance to narcotics may have erratic but significant effects on dosage and response.
Heightened overdose of meperidine can lead to extreme drowsiness, respiratory depression coma or stupor, muscle fatigue, cold or clammy skin, contracted pupils, sluggish heart rate hypotension, and even death. Meperidine is not appropriate for treatment of chronic pain, partially because the repeated dosing will lead to an accumulation of the poisonous metabolite, normeperidine, which can cause widespread seizures.
When meperidine is taken together with alcohol, the two drugs can seriously increase the risk for acute overdose. If use of this drug is regarded necessary for pain relief in an alcoholic or addict, the lowest dosage of meperidine that is enough to provide pain relief is suggested. Owing to the abovementioned dangers associated with meperidine overdose, urgent medical attention should be sought.
The use of meperidine poses a risk for drug abuse or dependence. Meperidine is highly addictive substance. It is legal but a controlled substance. The only people who should have access to this drug are those whose physicians have prescribed the drug to treat certain medical conditions.
Meperidine should thus be taken with caution by patients with a history of alcohol and substance dependence since this may vastly predispose addiction to this drug. Psychological dependence may well occur in early use of Meperidine, but tolerance and physical dependence may develop as a result of continual administration over more than a few weeks or months.
Addiction can occur even if Meperidine is used as prescribed or taken for a number of weeks or months repeatedly. Victims of addiction usually require bigger and more frequent doses of meperidine to alleviate pain or attain a state of ecstasy. When this drug is abused, the individual is usually seeking the ecstatic effect. There are several ways of meperidine abuse such as snorting, chewing, crushing, or injecting the liquefied product. Moderate symptoms of withdrawal can show in some patients after using the drug for several days in a row.
Additionally, when Meperidine is used for the treatment of chronic pain for a prolonged period of time, dependence and tolerance often occur. An individual who has become dependent on this drug will often have a major driving force to keep on using meperidine to avoid the awfully unpleasant set of withdrawal symptoms related to discontinuing this drug. Withdrawal symptoms may include dilated pupils, abdominal pain, restlessness, joint pain, nausea, insomnia, anorexia and high blood pressure among others.
In all cases, meperidine should be taken with caution. Before using this drug, it is important to inform a doctor or pharmacist about any existing medical conditions such as serious breathing problems, a certain bowel disease and serious infectious diarrhea. It is also important to keep a record of all of the prescription and non-prescription medicines you are using and also any products such as minerals, vitamins, or added dietary supplements.