24 Feb Demerol
As with any narcotic opioid prescription drug, Demerol use comes with serious potential side effects, not the least of which is the risk of addiction. Painkillers from the opioid family of drugs are medically important. They help many people cope with acute and chronic pain. On the other hand, they are easy to misuse, and doing so can quickly lead to dependence.
What is Demerol?
Demerol is a prescription painkiller that is used to treat pain that ranges from moderate to severe. Demerol is one brand name. Others include Dolantin, Alodan, Dispadol, and Centralgin. The scientific name for the compound is pethidine or meperidine. It belongs to the opioid class of drugs, which are those that are derived from compounds found in the opium poppy. A gummy substance that comes from the flower is called opium, and contains compounds, such as morphine, that relieve pain, aid digestion, calm coughs, and also provide the user with a euphoric high.
Demerol was first synthesized in a laboratory in 1932 to be used as an anti-spasmodic agent. Soon after, researchers realized its potential as an analgesic painkiller. Like other opioid compounds, Demerol acts in the body by attaching to opioid receptors in the central and peripheral nervous systems.
How is it used?
As a prescription medication, Demerol comes in tablet form most commonly. It may also be delivered as a syrup or as a subcutaneous, intramuscular, or intravenous injection. Abusers may use the drug in different ways, like crushing and snorting the pills, to get a quicker or better high.
As an opioid painkiller, it is not uncommon for those who use Demerol to become physically dependent on it. When taken under the direction of a physician, dependence can be avoided, but over long term usage, it is a risk. Some abusers use Demerol even when it was not initially prescribed. They may buy it from someone who stole it or was prescribed it for a valid reason.
Who is abusing Demerol?
Abusers of Demerol could be any age, sex, or race. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 16 million Americans over the age of 12 have used a prescription medication for a non-medical purpose. Over five million people were using painkillers in a non-medical way. Among teenagers, prescription medications are the most commonly abused drugs. Those teens are largely getting them from someone they know.
While opioid prescription painkillers are abused by many, Demerol is not the most common of this class of drugs. Because it causes more severe side effects than other types of opioids, it is not prescribed nearly as often as Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin, and others.
What are the side effects?
Dependence is one of the very serious potential side effects of taking Demerol. As with other opioid drugs, Demerol creates a high when taken because it affects a chemical in the brain that gives a pleasurable sensation. This chemical is called dopamine. When someone uses Demerol for a long time, he may begin to develop a tolerance. This means he needs to take more and more of it to get the same pleasurable release of dopamine. Tolerance in turn leads to withdrawal, and that leads to dependence.
In addition to the possibility of dependence, Demerol also carries other potential side effects. These include nausea, vomiting, sleepiness, dizziness, constipation, sweating, difficulty breathing, and in severe cases seizures or heart attack. Allergic reactions to Demerol are also possible and include symptoms like muscle twitches, severe drowsiness, a slow heartbeat, hallucinations, clamminess, and fever.
Certain medical conditions can cause worse or more severe side effects from Demerol. These include sickle cell anemia, lung and kidney damage or disease, alcoholism, skeletal problems that affect breathing, adrenal disorders, and pulmonary problems.
What are the signs of Demerol abuse?
Anyone using Demerol, even when under the care of a doctor, should be watched carefully for signs of abuse and dependence. Common to all types of drug abuse and addiction, someone abusing Demerol may exhibit behavioral or personality changes, financial difficulties, lack of interest in hygiene and activities, trouble at work, and changes in relationships.
Overdose of Demerol is also possible. Look for signs such as cold and clammy skin, contracted pupils, shallow breathing, a slow heart rate, confusion, extreme drowsiness, weakness, fainting, or a coma. If you suspect someone has overdosed on Demerol, get emergency medical help as soon as possible.
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