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What Are the Effects of Demerol Use?
Demerol is the brand name for the drug Meperidine, an opioid used to treat moderate to severe pain. It is often used before, during, and after surgeries. Demerol can be administered intravenously by a medical professional or swallowed as a tablet or syrup. Demerol is similar to Morphine, another Opioid analgesic. This drug is not meant for chronic pain, since long-term Demerol use can increase the risk of toxicity and result in dangerous effects like seizures. If taken as prescribed, the drug acts on opioid receptors in the brain to provide pain relief, but the effects of Demerol can also be unpleasant.
The common side-effects of taking Demerol are dizziness, drowsiness, and a relaxed, calm feeling. Common negative side-effects of Demerol are headaches, sweating, and nausea and vomiting. Some people have experienced suicidal thoughts while taking Demerol. Other Demerol side-effects include:
- Loss of appetite
- Urinating less than normal
- Painful urination
- Dry mouth
- Loss of interest in sex
- Itchy skin, hives, or rashes
- Darkening of the skin
- Cold, clammy skin
- Trouble breathing
Demerol users may also experience shivering, sweating, and shakiness of the extremities. Having medical problems can affect how Demerol interacts with the body, so anyone starting this medication should let their doctor know if they have medical problems such as pancreatitis, mental illness, alcohol or drug abuse history, or problems with breathing or the brain. Using tobacco or alcohol while taking Demerol can cause interactions to occur, increasing negative side effects. It is also advised to not drink grapefruit juice while taking opioids, as some studies have demonstrated that grapefruit juice acts as a Demerol potentiator, turning a normal dose of medication into a high dose.
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It is possible to overdose on Demerol, especially if the drug is being used in a way other than it was prescribed. The signs of an overdose on Demerol are severe sleepiness, unusual drowsiness, loss of consciousness, change in consciousness, decreased responsiveness, and bluish lips, nails, nail beds, palms, and skin. You should get emergency help immediately if you or someone you know exhibits these symptoms after using Demerol.
The Food and Drug Administration has reported that some patients taking Demerol had unpredictable, severe, and sometimes fatal reactions within 14 days of taking the drug. It is possible that these patients had hyperphenylalaninemia, a medical condition where patients develop elevated levels of the amino acid phenylalanine in the blood. The effects of this condition are severe respiratory depression, coma, blue skin, low blood pressure, hyperexcitability, convulsions, fast heart rate, and a very high fever.
Demerol Addiction and Withdrawal
As with other opioids, it is always possible to develop a tolerance to Demerol and suffer withdrawal symptoms when use is discontinued. Doctors may slowly wean patients off Demerol to help alleviate withdrawal symptoms, which include restlessness, chills, nausea, anxiety, backache, muscle pain, joint pain, weakness, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and increased heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure. Physical signs that someone may be withdrawing from Demerol are irritability, runny nose, yawning, perspiration, and dilated pupils. Because of the unpleasant symptoms of Demerol withdrawal, many users are motivated to keep using the drug in higher quantities to get the same effect and avoid discomfort.
Those who abuse Demerol often crush, chew, snort, or inject the drug as a dissolved product. These methods of delivery are uncontrolled and increase the risk for overdose or death. It is dangerous to abuse Demerol while taking other drugs or alcohol, since this can cause adverse reactions in the body. Street names for Demerol include demmies, dillies, dust, and pain killer. Demerol addictions are a factor in the Opioid Epidemic, with 130 Americans dying every day from an Opioid overdose.
There was a large influx of opioid prescriptions in the 1990s, leading to the first wave of overdose deaths. In 2010, there was another large wave of overdose deaths from heroin. In 2013, there was another wave of deaths from synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Many people who were originally prescribed an opioid like Demerol for pain relief became addicted to the drug and then turned to heroin or other illicit drugs. Sometimes doctors would no longer prescribe the pain pills, they became too expensive, or they were no longer strong enough due to increased tolerance. Heroin is cheaper and more accessible, so many people struggling with an addiction felt they had no other option than to turn to the deadly drug.
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Get Help for the Effects of Demerol
Abusing opioids is a potentially life-threatening practice that can destroy a person’s physical and mental health, finances, and relationships with family and friends. The first step in overcoming a Demerol addiction is detoxification. Detoxing from any drug will be unpleasant, with effects like anxiety and nausea occurring. However, a treatment facility will be able to provide assistance to ease the process of detoxing. Medical professionals will be able to offer medications to ease pain as well as supervision to make sure everything is safe. Many people relapse when attempting to detox on their own, as there is no help in easing symptoms. The withdrawal effects of Demerol are uncomfortable, but detox is the first step to recovery. Please contact a dedicated treatment provider today to get answer to your questions about rehab.
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