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Demerol—known generically as meperidine—is a fast-acting narcotic pain reliever. It is used to treat moderate-to-severe pain. Doctors also use it as an anesthetic and as a pain reliever for women who are in labor. A Schedule II controlled substance, Demerol is a highly addictive opioid medication that works like morphine.

Abusing Demerol has consequences. Even those who are prescribed the drug are at risk of developing a dependence because of its potency. People who abruptly stop taking Demerol after prolonged use can experience painful physical and mental symptoms known as Demerol withdrawal. Without medical treatment, Demerol withdrawal can result in flu-like side-effects.

Demerol Abusers Risk Dependence, Addiction

Doctors once considered Demerol less addictive than morphine, because it was linked to fewer risks and dangers than other opioid painkillers. However, Demerol is among the most widely abused prescription painkillers in the U.S. Those who abuse Demerol do so for its euphoric effects and to achieve a “high”. Abuse includes chewing, crushing, snorting and injecting the drug while it is in a dissolved form. Those who abuse Demerol are at high risk of becoming addicted to the drug. Potentially fatal overdoses are also possible.


Heroin Signs

Long-term abuse of Demerol changes the brain and body chemistry of users. The more the drugs are used, the more the body becomes accustomed to it. When use is stopped, withdrawal sets in as the body adjusts to functioning without Demerol in its system. People who have withdrawal side effects from Demerol may experience signs and symptoms that affect their physical and mental health. How long withdrawal lasts will vary.

Factors that determine the length and intensity of symptoms include:

  • Age, health, and lifestyle
  • Demerol tolerance
  • How long Demerol has been used
  • Dose of Demerol taken
  • Whether other substances, such as alcohol, were used along with Demerol
  • Bone pain
  • Chills
  • Cold sweats
  • Goose bumps
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Fever
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea
  • Runny nose
  • Seizures
  • Stomach pain
  • Teary eyes
  • Vomiting
  • Agitation
  • Appetite loss
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Delusions
  • Depression
  • Disorientation
  • Drug cravings
  • Hallucinations
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Mood swings
  • Psychosis

Heroin Timeline

Symptoms can start within 24 hours after the last dose. Below is a general schedule. Not everyone will have the same signs or symptoms, so consult your physician with specific questions about withdrawal side effects from Demerol that you or your loved one are having.

Changes in mood are among the first signs to show up after Demerol use has been reduced or if the drug is stopped altogether.

Physical withdrawal symptoms begin. Users typically experience nausea, flu-like symptoms muscle aches, and other discomfort. The person in withdrawal may also develop mood or behavioral changes, including paranoia, anxiety or intense restlessness and uneasiness. Users can have strong cravings for Demerol during this period.

Physical, behavioral and psychological symptoms likely will continue but will gradually subside.

The physical symptoms of withdrawal typically stop. However, Demerol drug cravings may linger. Affected users should look into a treatment program that can help them manage these cravings and other side effects.


Heroin Treatment

A medically supervised detox from Demerol is the safest way to manage withdrawal symptoms and remove the substance from the body. This process can last a few days and up to a week in more serious cases.

During the process, medical professionals at a licensed facility administer medications to the client to help ease withdrawal symptoms while monitoring vital signs and the person’s overall health.

A doctor may decide to use the taper method for clients going through the process. This means the physician will gradually cut back on the dosage of Demerol using intravenous (IV) therapy. The length of Demerol detox will depend on a variety of factors, such as medical history and duration and amount of use.

Diet and nutrition support can also be a part of the detox treatment. Clients can learn methods that promote restful sleep, hydration, pain relief, and relaxation.

Common Demerol Detox Medications

Withdrawing from Demerol at medical facility can make the detox process easier to withstand. Medical professionals will be able to monitor a client’s health in safe environment. Doctors can prescribe clients medication to ease the severity of the withdrawal symptoms. Common treatments used during detoxification treatments for Demerol addiction include:

  • Buprenorphine: This opioid medication, also known as Subutex, is given at a medical facility or doctor’s office. It also can be used at home under a doctor’s prescription. Buprenorphine affects the same receptors as heroin and morphine do, but it does not give the same intense high or harmful side effects, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
  • Clonidine: Clonidine is a blood pressure medication prescribed to treat physical symptoms of withdrawal, such as muscle aches, cramping and sweating, and psychological ones, including anxiety and agitation or restlessness.
  • Methadone: Methadone is used in opiate detox to help reduce Demerol cravings and ease withdrawal symptoms. The drug affects the parts of the brain and spinal cord to block the euphoric “high” users get with opioids. Methadone eases opiate withdrawal for 24 hours to 36 hours, which reduces the chances of relapse. As with other medications, methadone should be used under medical supervision, as it is habit-forming and potentially addictive.
  • Naltrexone: This medication blocks opioids from acting on the brain’s receptors, which strips away the reward of getting high on Demerol. It comes in pill form or as an extended-release injection. As with all drugs, naltrexone should be used with care. The initial dosage as well as any adjustments to it will be prescribed by the doctor.
  • Suboxone: Suboxone is an opioid medication that is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. The prescription medication blocks the effects of opioid drugs while also acting as a depressant to limit cravings. However, Suboxone is habit-forming, even in regular doses, and can lead to addiction, overdose, and death, if used improperly.

Heroin FAQ

Demerol is the brand name of an opioid medication for moderate-to-severe pain also known as meperidine. Demerol can come in an injection, tablet, or syrup form. Injections are usually administered by physicians.

Demerol has a half-life of 2.5 to 4 hours in an adult person, which means it takes this long for half of the dosage to leave the body.

The side effects include a number of physical symptoms, including bone and muscle pain, chills and cold sweats, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, dizziness, stomach pain, vomiting, and more. Behavioral symptoms linked to withdrawal include agitation and restlessness. Psychological symptoms include anxiety, delusions, depression, and Demerol cravings, among other symptoms.

The duration of symptoms, and their intensity can vary. A few factors include:

  • Age, health, and lifestyle
  • Demerol tolerance
  • How long Demerol has been used
  • Dose of Demerol taken
  • Method of Demerol used

Tapering is a method used in medically supervised detox that gradually reduces the dosage of Demerol to gradually and safely wean the client off Demerol as they go through withdrawal. The physician usually determines the tapering schedule, but tapering too quickly comes with risks, one of them being withdrawal.

Withdrawal from Demerol can be painful and unpleasant, so some people set out to relieve their symptoms with alternative do-it-yourself methods that are usually carried out at home or outside of a medical center. Drug Treatment Center Finder; however, advises longtime Demerol users in withdrawal to seek out medical treatment administered by licensed medical professionals as an alternative option to these methods.

A medical center or facility provides a safe environment for users to detox comfortably. There, medical professionals can monitor a client’s progress around the clock and ensure they get the care they need.



At a drug rehab center, you can start your recovery with a healthy support group of trained clinical staff, other like-minded recovering addicts, and addiction counselors that only want you to succeed.


Addiction treatment programs will vary by individual and substance, depending on the severity of his addiction and whether other treatment methods need to be included, such as dual-diagnosis or holistic therapies.


Some medications that may be expected are: buprenorphine, Suboxone, and methadone. Medicines for non-pain health conditions may also be administered, such as for diabetes and high blood pressure.


Some people do suddenly stop using Demerol after a long period, which is known as “going cold turkey”. Medical professionals highly discourage an addicted person from abruptly stopping the drug and encourage users to seek treatment at a detox or drug rehab facility. Medical supervision can keep a client safe while ensuring their needs are met as they cope with the symptoms, which can be uncomfortable. Getting medical help with a Demerol detox also reduces the possibility of relapse.



According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 50 percent of all U.S. opioid-related drug overdoses involve a prescription opioid like demerol, oxycodone, and hydrocodone.


An estimated 20 percent (or 1 out of 5) of people are prescribed opioids in office-based settings, despite not being diagnosed with pain-related causes.


Nearly 14 percent of those who used prescription drugs non-medically meet criteria for abuse or dependence.