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Meperidine (By mouth)

Meperidine (me-PER-i-deen)

Relieves moderate to severe pain. This medicine is a narcotic analgesic (pain medicine).

Brand Name(s):

Demerol, Demerol Hydrochloride, Meperitab

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to meperidine. You should not use this medicine if you have used an MAO inhibitor (MAOI) such as Eldepryl®, Marplan®, Nardil®, or Parnate® within the past 14 days. Do not use this medicine if you have severe lung or breathing problems (such as respiratory insufficiency). This medicine should not be used to relieve chronic (long-lasting or recurrent) pain.

How to Use This Medicine:

Liquid, Tablet

  • Take your medicine as directed.
  • 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.
  • Drink plenty of liquids to help avoid constipation.

If a dose is missed:

  • 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.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine:

  • 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.
  • Destroy any medicine that you do not need by flushing it down the toilet.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

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

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are using acyclovir (Zovirax®), cimetidine (Tagamet®), phenytoin (Dilantin®), ritonavir (Norvir®), muscle relaxants (such as tubocurarine), narcotic pain medicines (such as buprenorphine, butorphanol, nalbuphine, pentazocine, Buprenex®, Nubain®, Stadol®, or Talwin®), or a phenothiazine medicine (such as prochlorperazine, Compazine®, Phenergan®, or Thorazine®).
  • Tell your doctor if you drink alcohol or if you are using any medicine that makes you sleepy, such as allergy medicine or narcotic pain medicine.
  • Do not drink alcohol while you are using this medicine.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding or if you have kidney disease, liver disease, breathing problems (such as COPD, respiratory depression, or asthma), Addison disease, heart rhythm problems, low blood pressure, kyphoscoliosis (severe curvature of the spine with breathing problems), mental illness, pheochromocytoma (an adrenal gland tumor), prostate problems, sickle cell anemia, stomach or digestive problems, trouble urinating, or an underactive thyroid. Tell your doctor if you have had seizures, a head injury, a recent surgery, or have been addicted to alcohol or drugs.
  • 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, use machines, 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.

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
  • Confusion, unusual thoughts, or hallucinations (seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not really there)
  • Fast, slow, or uneven heartbeat
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting
  • Seizures
  • Sleepiness or unusual drowsiness

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

  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea, vomiting, or constipation
  • Sweating
  • Warmth or redness in your face, neck, arms, or upper chest

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: 8/4/2014


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