Demerol Withdrawal | Symptoms, Timeline, & Detox

Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS

on March 16, 2023

Demerol is an addictive opioid that can lead to dependence and substance use disorder when misused. If you try to stop using the opioid after a long-period of use, withdrawal symptoms can occur and make the recovery process difficult without professional help.

Demerol is the brand name for the opioid analgesic meperidine. This painkiller is used to treat moderate to severe pain and chronic pain. It binds to opioid receptors in the central nervous system and changes how the brain and body responds to pain.

Demerol is a Schedule II controlled substance. When the opioid is used over a long period of time or in high doses, the prescription drug can be habit-forming and lead to physical dependence and addiction. 

Once dependence develops, withdrawal symptoms are likely to occur when you stop using. These symptoms can be severe and last for days, weeks, or even months. However, detox support is available to help stabilize your body and mind and prepare you for addiction treatment. 

Demerol Withdrawal Symptoms

When you stop taking Demerol after using or abusing it for a long period of time, you’ll likely experience opioid withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms can range in intensity from mild to severe depending on a variety of factors.

These symptoms are not typically life-threatening but they can be very uncomfortable.

Some of the most common Demerol withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • insomnia
  • irritability
  • muscle aches
  • restlessness
  • runny nose and watery eyes
  • sweating
  • constipation
  • dry mouth
  • rapid heart rate
  • increased blood pressure
  • gastrointestinal upset
  • diarrhea
  • nausea and vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • anxiety
  • shortness of breath
  • depression

Demerol Withdrawal Timeline

It varies how long your withdrawal symptoms will last, but there is a general timeline that can be used as a guide to know whether your symptoms are common or not. 

6-8 Hours After Last Dose

At this early point in the withdrawal process, you may start feeling some symptoms of withdrawal including yawning, sweating, runny nose, fever, and body aches.

2-5 days After Last Dose

After a few days, your symptoms will likely peak and be at their worst. This is the point where the risk of relapse is at its highest. 

The most common symptoms at this stage include chills, nausea, vomiting, body aches, insomnia, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and strong cravings for the drug.

6+ Days After Last Dose

Once you reach day six, most physical symptoms should be gone but it can depend on how heavy your Demerol drug use was. The remaining symptoms may include fatigue, depression, and cravings.

 If the symptoms continue it may be something called post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). With PAWS, more professional mental health and medical help may be needed. 

Factors Affecting Demerol Withdrawal Timeline

The length and intensity of withdrawal symptoms can differ among people significantly depending on a variety of factors such as:

  • dose of Demerol taken
  • frequency of Demerol use
  • method of ingestion
  • severity of prescription opioid addiction
  • history of addiction and relapse
  • history of mental illness
  • age
  • overall health condition
  • metabolism
  • dietary habits
  • tapering schedule

Demerol Detoxification

Demerol abuse or addiction treatment begins with a medical detox program

With a detox program, you receive medical support and supervision from healthcare providers at a detox center or treatment center to better manage cravings. In some cases, medications like benzodiazepines may be administered along with IV fluids and other measures to make you more comfortable.

Another form of Demerol detox is called tapering, where your healthcare provider slowly reduces the dose of the drug over time. No matter the method, detoxing from Demerol cold turkey is never recommended due to how severe the symptoms can be.

Demerol Addiction Treatment

After detox, inpatient treatment or outpatient treatment is usually the next step when treating opioid addiction. Treatment services may include therapy, group therapy, support groups, recreational activities, addiction education, and medication-assisted treatment (MAT).

With MAT, buprenorphine, naltrexone, and methadone are some of the medications used to address opioid use disorder.

If you or a loved one deal with opiate/opioid drug abuse, we can help. Our inpatient substance abuse treatment programs include medical detox, behavioral therapy, peer support, and medication-assisted treatment.

For more information, please contact us today.

  1. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — Demerol
  2. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Opiate and opioid withdrawal

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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