Demerol Shooter| Uses, Effects, & Warnings Of Injecting Demerol

Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS

on March 23, 2023

Demerol injections may be used for those in surgery or to help manage chronic pain. However, abusing Demerol via injection can lead to a range of side effects such as skin abscesses and an increased risk of opioid overdose.

Meperidine (brand name Demerol) is an opioid analgesic prescription drug used to treat those suffering from severe pain. 

According to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Demerol is a Schedule II controlled substance that has a high potential for abuse and psychological or physical dependence.

Although meant to treat those in chronic pain, Demerol injections can be used in a way that’s not prescribed, which is a form of drug abuse. Demerol is an opioid that targets the central nervous system (CNS), creating feelings of euphoria and sedation.

Uses Of A Demerol Injection

A Demerol IV may be used before or during surgery to help sedate a patient. However, some who require around-the-clock care to manage their chronic pain may receive injections every 3 to 4 hours as needed.

Unfortunately, some abuse Demerol and take the drug to achieve a “high.” Instead of liquid Demerol, those who participate in shooting Demerol may crush Demerol pills, combine the powder with liquid, and inject it into a vein.

Side Effects Of Demerol Injections

Substance abuse in the form of a Demerol injection can lead to various side effects which range in severity. This specific form of abuse may cause abscesses on the skin, bacterial infections, and collapsed veins.

In addition, those who share paraphernalia, including contaminated needles, may develop a disease such as HIV or hepatitis. 

The common side effects of Demerol may also be more pronounced when it’s injected in this manner due to how quickly the drug enters the bloodstream and creates sedative effects.

Increased Side Effects

In addition to pain at the injection site, some of the common side effects of Demerol that may be increased include:

  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • agitation
  • constipation
  • sweating
  • loss of appetite
  • dry mouth
  • vomiting
  • headache

Your risk of addiction and physical dependence also increases if you inject Demerol without a prescription.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Opioid withdrawal symptoms may occur when you abruptly stop using Demerol. Demerol withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • mood changes
  • increased blood pressure
  • weakness
  • yawning
  • depression
  • insomnia
  • restlessness
  • anxiety

Demerol Injection Warnings

There are various warnings a person should know before injecting Demerol. For instance, your healthcare provider may explain that older adults require a lower dose until the body adjusts to the drug.

Other warnings for Demerol injections include drug interactions, serotonin syndrome, and overdose.

Drug Interactions

Those who combine Demerol with other substances may experience adverse effects such as heightened sedation. This can lead to serious health complications.

Some of the substances to avoid on Demerol consist of:

  • codeine
  • muscle relaxants
  • antihistamines
  • alcohol
  • sleeping pills
  • benzodiazepines
  • over-the-counter pain medications

Serotonin Syndrome

If monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) antidepressants are combined with Demerol, a form of toxicity known as serotonin syndrome can take place. MAOIs to avoid include:

  • tranylcypromine (Parnate)
  • selegiline (Emsam, Zelapar, Eldepryl)
  • isocarboxazid (Marplan)
  • phenelzine (Nardil)

This type of toxicity may also occur when Demerol is combined with other antidepressants like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). 

Symptoms of serotonin syndrome may include seizures, hallucinations, and similar overdose effects such as respiratory depression.

Demerol Overdose

Life-threatening symptoms of a Demerol overdose may include:

  • cold or clammy skin
  • breathing problems
  • slow heart rate
  • extreme sleepiness
  • blurred vision
  • unresponsiveness
  • respiratory depression
  • death

Seek urgent medical help if a Demerol overdose is expected.

Opioid Addiction Treatment Options

If you or a loved one are struggling with Demerol abuse, consider finding an addiction treatment center in Ohio to help you achieve sobriety. 

At Ohio Recovery Center, we offer inpatient treatment options for opioid addiction that include medication-assisted treatment, behavioral therapy, mental health counseling, and peer support. To learn more, please contact us today.

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — Harm Reduction: Substance Use
  2. Food and Drug Administration — Demerol
  3. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Meperidine Injection
  4. National Library of Medicine: StatPearls — Meperidine

Written by Ohio Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Ohio Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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