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Demerol Withdrawal

Demerol is an opioid medication that can cause chemical dependence and withdrawal symptoms when it’s used for too long or in high doses. Dependence is more common among people who abuse the drug or take it without a prescription. 

Demerol withdrawal symptoms are similar to those of other opioids and include uncomfortable flu-like symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Demerol withdrawal symptoms are notoriously unpleasant and difficult to get through on your own. 

For many people, opioid withdrawal is a significant barrier to sobriety. Learn more about Demerol withdrawal symptoms, the timeline you might be able to expect, and how detox works. 

What Are Demerol Withdrawal Symptoms?

Like other opioids, Demerol withdrawal symptoms are often compared to a particularly bad case of the flu. Opioids bind to opioid receptors all over the body to facilitate pain relief. Opioid withdrawal is also felt all over the body with aches, nausea, and sweating. 

Opioid withdrawal isn’t generally considered to be life-threatening, but it can be a challenge to get through without help. Early symptoms can include runny nose, body aches, and fatigue. As symptoms get worse, it will start to feel like a more severe case of the flu with nausea and vomiting.

Demerol withdrawal can include:

  • Runny nose
  • Teary eyes
  • Excessive yawning
  • Body aches
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Sweating
  • Headache
  • Dehydration

Like the flu, Demerol withdrawal can cause dehydration as a result of excessive sweating, vomiting, and diarrhea. It’s important to get plenty of fluids as you go through it. If digestive issues make it so that you can’t keep food down, you may need to seek medical help to avoid dangerous complications. 

In some cases, dehydration has lead to fatal complications during opioid withdrawal. Demerol withdrawal may also cause powerful drug cravings, especially if you’ve developed a severe opioid use disorder. Along with uncomfortable symptoms, cravings can make it difficult to resist relapse. Addiction treatment can help you to deal with cravings and triggers without using the drug.

What Are the Stages of Demerol Withdrawal Timeline?

  • First 24 hours: Demerol’s half-life is between 15 and 30 hours. That means it will be reduced to half of its original concentration in your blood by that time. When a drug reaches its half-life, it usually loses some of its effectiveness, and withdrawal might start. Demerol withdrawal might show its first symptoms around the 24-hour mark. 
  • 2 days: Once symptoms start, they will get worse over the next few days. As symptoms escalate, you may experience nausea, sweating, fever, and body aches.
  • 5 days: Between three and five days, you will likely go through some of the worst symptoms as they peak. This is the period when Demerol withdrawal will be at its worst, causing vomiting and other flu symptoms. However, once symptoms peak, they will start to go away.
  • 1 week: After a week, most symptoms may be gone, but some psychological symptoms may continue to linger. 

Do I Need Detox?

Detox is a high level of care in addiction treatment that’s often necessary for people that are likely to go through severe withdrawal symptoms. It involves 24-hour care from medical professionals. Demerol withdrawal is unpleasant, but it isn’t usually life-threatening. However, it can be difficult to get through on your own without using the drug again. 

If you are dependent on an opioid, you might need some level of care to get through the withdrawal phase and avoid relapse after withdrawal. When you enter a treatment program, you will go through medical and clinical assessments to determine your level of need. 

If you don’t need medical detox, you might need inpatient or outpatient treatment. In some cases, you may need to enter detox if you have other health concerns that need 24-hour medical attention.

Sources

Darke, S., Larney, S., & Farrell, M. (2016, August 11). Yes, people can die from opiate withdrawal. Retrieved from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/add.13512

Johns Hopkins Medicine. (n.d.). Substance Abuse / Chemical Dependency. Retrieved from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/substance-abuse-chemical-dependency

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019, June). Prescription Opioids. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/prescription-opioids

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016, February). 8: Medical detoxification. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/teaching-packets/understanding-drug-abuse-addiction/section-iii/7-medical-detoxification

RxList. (2018, September 19). Meperidine (Demerol): Side Effects, Interactions, Warning Dosage & Uses. Retrieved from https://www.rxlist.com/demerol-drug.htm

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