Demerol is the brand name for meperidine, which is a synthetic opioid agonist used to treat pain. Though generic meperidine is available in various formulas, such as oral tablets and syrup, Demerol is currently only available as an injectable solution. Demerol may be used in clinical settings to relieve severe pain that other narcotics could not treat. As safe as this medication is when used as directed, Demerol can lead to physical dependence when used for long periods, even in people who use it as prescribed. Today we’re going to look at common Demerol withdrawal symptoms and what you should do if you ever experience them.
Demerol Withdrawal Symptoms
Like all opioid painkillers, Demerol interacts with opioid receptors in the central nervous system (CNS) and throughout the body to alter pain signaling and perception. In addition to this purpose, Demerol can also produce side effects like euphoria, improved mood, sedation, lightheadedness, blurred vision, and more.
Dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, skin flushing, rash, dilated blood vessels, and low blood pressure are other typical side effects of Demerol. Despite these adverse reactions, however, many people still abuse opioids like Demerol for their sedative and euphoric high.
Both long-term use and abuse of Demerol can lead to physical dependence, which is the result of a chemical change in the brain. Over time, the brain becomes accustomed to being in a certain elevated state of euphoria or maintaining high levels of dopamine.
As a result, when the user isn’t taking Demerol, their brain and body may begin to react to the lack of drug through various symptoms known as withdrawals. When these changes occur, it means the person has become dependent, and even addicted, to Demerol.
Withdrawal from Demerol is different for everyone. Meperidine withdrawal symptoms depend on how long the person has been using the drug, how much of it they normally take, whether they’ve also abused other substances, and how they took the drug.
Common Demerol withdrawal symptoms include:
- Digestive issues
- Dilated pupils
- Discharge from eyes
- Dry mouth
- Inability to sleep or insomnia
- Increased blood pressure
- Muscle aches
- Rapid heart rate
- Runny nose
- Shortness of breath
- Upset stomach
Other symptoms of Demerol withdrawal include strong cravings for the drug when the person first quits, which often prompts many people to relapse or begin using the drug again after detoxing. To reduce the likelihood of relapse, those who are dependent on or addicted to Demerol undergo medically supervised detox.
Demerol Withdrawal Timeline
While the opioid withdrawal timeline varies from person to person, most people begin to experience symptoms of Demerol detox within the first 24 hours after their last dose. For some, withdrawal can even start as quickly as three hours after use.
There are two main phases of Demerol withdrawal: acute withdrawal and post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS). Acute withdrawal is especially difficult but usually only lasts from 3 to 10 days.
Any symptoms that last longer than 10 days are considered PAWS. PAWS can last as long as 24 months after the person’s last use of Demerol but may slowly diminish with time.
The Demerol withdrawal timeline is as follows:
- First 24 hours: Symptoms usually begin 3 to 24 hours after the person’s last dose of Demerol. Anxiety, irritability, physical discomfort, and nausea are usually the first symptoms of withdrawal, as well as cravings for and urges to use Demerol.
- Day 2 to 5: This is when withdrawal tends to peak, during which the former user may experience symptoms like uneasiness, alarm, and paranoia. Physical symptoms often set in during this stage, as well, such as sweating, muscle aches, nausea, and vomiting.
- Day 6 to 14: Over the next week or so, symptoms may begin to dissipate. Any remaining symptoms are usually mild. This is the stage of withdrawal in which PAWS begins.
- 2 Weeks +: Cravings for the drug may persist, but most, if not all, other symptoms like anhedonia, decreased appetite, restlessness, irritability, anxiety, depression, mood swings, poor concentration, and lack of motivation should all subside.
Treatment for Demerol Withdrawal & Addiction
Demerol users are advised to consult a doctor before quitting the drug if they’ve been taking it as prescribed. Users who are addicted to their Demerol medication or using it without a prescription can get help at our Delaware rehab center.
Our facility offers opioid detox to help individuals addicted to drugs ranging from Demerol and morphine to heroin recover physically and mentally in a safe, comfortable, and medically-led environment. Opioids are one of the most difficult substances to detox from, so it’s important to begin your addiction recovery journey with medically-led detox treatment to stay safe and decrease the chances of relapse.