Although Demerol helps many people with severe pain, it can cause addiction. And the risk may increase if you have a substance use disorder (SUD) such as an addiction to drugs or alcohol. So, Demerol can help you, but it comes with its risks and precautions.
Many people that have been prescribed Demerol don’t even realize that they are addicted to it. But addiction can happen if the drug is misused or abused and at recommended dosages.
Meperidine (The generic name for Demerol) is used to help relieve moderate to severe pain. It is similar to morphine and belongs to a class of drugs known as opiate analgesics. Meperidine works in the brain to change how your body feels pain. It works by binding to receptors on the surface of cells where opium usually attaches and stops the body from sending pain signals to the brain.
Meperidine is most commonly used for pre-and post-operative pain in procedures related to cancer, heart attacks, childbirth, and serious accidents. It should not be used to treat long-term or continuing pain. It is only to be used to treat sudden occurrences of moderate to severe pain.
It isn’t typically prescribed for long-term use but if you suddenly stop taking Demerol it can cause withdrawal, particularly if you have been using it for a long time or in high doses. When it is used for a long time it tends to not work as well. Don’t just take higher doses if it stops working well. The use of Demerol needs to be monitored by a clinician.
Patients begin taking the drug as prescribed but when tolerance builds up they start increasing their doses to larger amounts just to get the same pain relief that the got in the beginning. This leads to developing physical dependence and, eventually, an addiction.
An addiction to Demerol is the same as any other addiction in that it is a chronic brain disease. It has social, environmental, genetic, and psychological components. Addiction is characterized by:
After you build up a physical dependence on Demerol, a sudden stoppage or a substantial reduction in dosage will usually result in withdrawal. The body becomes so used to the presence of the drug that it can no longer operate normally without it. Withdrawal can also be sped up by the administration of Naloxone during an overdose. Withdrawal symptoms may include:
Demerol carries the same risks as any opioid such as:
Meperidine has serious interactions with at least 54 different drugs and moderate interactions with at least 219 others. Drug interactions can affect how your drugs work or increase your risk for serious side effects.
Serious interactions include but are not limited to these drugs:
The drugs that cause mild interactions with meperidine include but are not limited to:
Demerol and alcohol both can cause dizziness, nausea, blurry vision, and vomiting. Drinking while taking Demerol can worsen these effects. Try to avoid drinking while taking Demerol.
Grapefruit juice slows down how quickly the body can break down the Demerol. This could cause the drug’s levels to rise dangerously high. Avoid eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice while taking it.
Always tell your medical professional about any drugs you may be taking.
The use of drugs that increase serotonin such as Celexa, Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft with Demerol can cause serotonin syndrome. That is when your body has too much of the chemical serotonin. This is usually caused by a medication or combination of medications.
Your body makes serotonin to aid your brain cells and nervous system cells talk to each other. It is believed that a deficit of serotonin in your brain might play a part in depression. Too much serotonin leads to extreme nerve cell activity and possibly life-threatening symptoms.
Symptoms of serotonin syndrome are:
You will need to call 911 or go the ER if these symptoms appear:
Since Demerol is an opioid, the same treatment plans, structured for the particular patient, would be used. However, since Demerol users typically have been prescribed the drug for severe pain, a few studies have found that the addiction might be caused by patient frustration with the poor response to chronic pain treatment. Patient addictions can be attributed to these factors:
The study findings found that certain diagnostic and treatments should be followed by these patients.
Detox–When you stop using Demerol, you may have difficult and serious symptoms of withdrawal. Most people will require a medically supervised detox period. During this time you will rid your body of the toxins. Once you have stabilized, you will move on to your treatment plan.
Treatment programs—Depending on the severity of your addiction, you may need a residential program. You will live at the treatment facility, and be supervised round-the-clock. Therapists can help you with any psychological issues and underlying problems you might have. Physicians will assist you with a pain management plan.
You may find that an outpatient program is better suited to your life after detox. You will live at home but continue sessions with your counselors and be monitored by your doctor. You will learn how to manage your pain.
If you were a recreational user of Demerol and became addicted, you may need a longer treatment program. You will need to learn to live around the situations, places, and people that remind you of your drug use. An aftercare program or a sober living residence are good options in that case.
Researchers spend a considerable amount of time trying to understand what causes chronic pain and how to get relief. Sports injuries and auto accidents are typical origins of chronic pain. There are also health issues like arthritis, cancer, diabetes, and migraines. Here are some ways to manage chronic pain.
You can live your life fully again. You just needed some information, right? If you think you are addicted. If your pain won’t go away—we want to help. Unity Behavior Health has a staff of caring and experienced medical professionals who can help you—really help you.
Speak to one of our experienced and caring representatives at Unity Behavioral Health to learn about how our rehab programs can help your loved one defeat addiction.