Q & A Library

Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Hooked on Pain Killers?
Can you provide me with information on Demerol addiction?
Answer (Published 5/1/2003)

(Updated 1/24/2005)

Demerol (meperidine) is a narcotic prescription drug used for relief of moderate to severe pain; it comes in both injectable and pill forms. Demerol's effects are similar to that of morphine and other opiates and are felt within 10 to 15 minutes after you swallow a pill and even faster when the drug is injected intramuscularly or by vein and typically last for two to four hours. Today, more effective and less toxic painkillers are replacing Demerol. The drug can cause a long list of side effects ranging from lightheadedness, nausea and dizziness to tremor, headache and severe convulsions. Symptoms of an overdose include bluish discoloration of the skin, a cold and clammy feel to the skin, limp weak muscles, low blood pressure, slow heartbeat, troubled or slowed breathing, extreme sleepiness or coma.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging for Addiction - Are you a smoker? The Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging online plan offers simple steps to help kick the habit, including acupuncture for smoking cessation and advice on eating protective, antioxidant rich foods that may help heal the damaging effects of smoking. Start your 14-day free trial now!

As with any narcotic, repeated use of Demerol builds a tolerance to the drug leading to physical and mental addiction. Once addicted, if you attempt to stop using the drug, you will develop one or more of the following withdrawal symptoms four to five hours after your last dose:


  • Severe anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Profuse sweating
  • Muscle spasms
  • Chills and/or shivering
  • Tremors


Withdrawal symptoms are likely to continue for seven to 10 days. Bear in mind that detoxification (getting past the physical withdrawal) is only part of the process of recovery from addiction to any drug, including Demerol. You also have to learn to deal with the situations that gave rise to and surrounded the addictive behavior.

If you or someone you know is addicted to Demerol, I suggest that you speak to a health care professional you trust about getting into a good drug rehabilitation program as soon as possible. Or you can locate a drug treatment program via the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle on (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being in just eight weeks! Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe Wellness Guide
Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Food Pyramid

Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you and their corresponding answers from Dr. Weil.

Copyright © 2015 Weil Lifestyle
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here