Opioid abuse has contributed to a major drug crisis in the United States.
In 2019, nearly 50,000 people in the U.S. died from opioid-related drug overdoses.1 In the late 1990s, pharmaceutical companies assured the medical community that patients would not become addicted to prescription opioids, and healthcare providers began to prescribe them at greater rates. As a result, widespread abuse of these medications occurred before it was evident that these medications are indeed highly addictive. One opioid that our drug rehab in Palm Springs, CA, is looking into is meperidine. We’re sharing an overview of meperidine’s side effects and its mechanism of action.
What Is Meperidine Hydrochloride?
Meperidine is a prescription opioid that’s used to treat moderate to severe pain. Demerol is the brand name of meperidine. Meperidine works by binding to and activating proteins called opioid receptors on nerve cells in the brain, spinal cord, gut, and other areas of the body. When this happens, opioids block pain signals being sent from the body to the brain. Additionally, certain opioid receptors are located in areas of the brain involving feelings of pleasure and reward. Certain neurotransmitters that play a role in pleasure, such as dopamine and serotonin, are also activated during this process.
Demerol’s side effects can include severe sedation and even euphoria when the drug is taken in high doses. This high can strongly reinforce the act of taking the drug, exacerbating addiction. Although opioids are effective medications for treating pain, they’re also highly addictive. People who are addicted to the medication meperidine, or any other opioid, usually need to receive opioid detox treatment to successfully quit.
Meperidine Adverse Effects
Along with needed meperidine side effects, some unwanted physical and psychological reactions may also occur. Individuals who take meperidine only if and as prescribed to them by their doctors are less likely to experience adverse side effects. On the other hand, those who take these drugs to get high increase their risk of dangers like addiction and overdose.
Meperidine effects include:
- Feelings of well-being
- Blurred vision
- Problems urinating
- Difficulties breathing
- Difficulties swallowing
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Impaired judgment
- Chest pains
- Itching or skin rash
- Loss of appetite
- Depression symptoms
- Muscle twitching or jerking
- Nausea and vomiting
- Lack of coordination
- Unusual fatigue
- Stomach pain
Taking a meperidine dose higher than the one prescribed to you by your doctor can lead to severe and uncomfortable side effects. The normal Demerol dosage to take is dependent on the form of meperidine you’re taking. For instance, the syrup dose is usually 50 mg, the tablets can be either 50 mg or 100 mg, and the injectable solution can range from 25 mg to 100 mg. The severity and duration of side effects vary depending on the dosage taken. While the half-life of Demerol is 2 to 5 hours, its side effects may last longer in some people than others for various reasons.
Like other opioids, you can overdose on meperidine as well. Some common symptoms of meperidine overdose include bluish color in the fingernails, lips, skin, palms, or nail beds; loss of consciousness; decreased awareness or responsiveness; and severe drowsiness. While these are all concerning, respiratory depression is the most serious symptom of an opioid overdose. This condition is characterized by slow and ineffective breathing that doesn’t get enough oxygen to the lungs. Respiratory depression is attributed to most opioid-related overdose deaths. If you’re addicted to opioids, opioid treatment is your best bet at getting sober.
Without the help of a treatment center like Banyan Palm Springs, a person with a meperidine addiction is more likely to suffer from severe repercussions like an overdose in the long run. Heed our meperidine warnings and get help today if you suffer from a drug problem. Call us now at 888-280-4763 to learn how our California drug treatment programs can help.