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Demerol Withdrawal and Detox

Demerol withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety and agitation, are typically moderate to severe. To avoid relapse, Demerol users are advised to complete withdrawal in a medical detox program.

What is Demerol Withdrawal?

Runny nose is a common Demerol withdrawal symptom.

Runny nose is a common Demerol withdrawal symptom.

Prolonged abuse of Demerol can cause abnormalities and changes in the user’s brain. When these changes occur, it means the user has become reliant on Demerol—they’ve developed a dependence.

Even those who follow a prescription can become dependent on Demerol.

Withdrawal occurs when a physically and/or psychologically dependent Demerol user quits taking the drug. As their body tries to physiologically adjust to no longer having Demerol in its system, the user will experience unpleasant symptoms of withdrawal, such as anxiety and agitation.

Withdrawal symptoms associated with Demerol are not typically life-threatening, but they may feel that way to the addict. Symptoms can be quite painful and are best treated in a medical environment.

Please call us now for help finding a treatment program that offers medically assisted detox.

Symptoms of Withdrawal

Withdrawal from Demerol is different for each user. The symptoms that present are dependent on how long Demerol was abused, as well as how much of the drug was taken and how often.
Demerol withdrawal symptoms are typically moderate to severe and can include the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Paranoid thinking
  • Agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Runny nose and eyes
  • Shortness of breath
  • Muscle aches
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Hallucinations

Demerol users may also experience strong cravings when they first quit the drug, prompting some to begin using again. To reduce the likelihood of relapse, those who are addicted to Demerol should seek the help of a medical detox program.

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Duration of Withdrawal

While the duration of withdrawal is different for everyone, most people begin experiencing symptoms within the first 24 hours after their last dose.

For some, withdrawal can start as quickly as three hours after quitting.

Symptoms typically peak after a few days and last a week or two. Many patients in a detox program will be held for one week until their symptoms start to improve.

Demerol Withdrawal Timeline

First 24 hoursSymptoms typically begin three to 24 hours after the user’s last dose. Anxiety and irritability are usually the first symptoms to present.
Days 2-5Withdrawal tends to peak over the next few days. The former user may feel uneasy, alarmed or even fearful. Paranoid thinking usually sets in, along with physical symptoms, like sweating and muscle aches. Demerol cravings may be strong.
Days 6-14Over the next week or two, symptoms begin to fade. Any remaining symptoms should be mild.
Days 15+Cravings for the drug may persist, but most, if not all, other symptoms should subside.

Demerol Detox

Demerol users are advised to consult a doctor before quitting the drug or to complete withdrawal in a medical detox program.

During medical detox, doctors typically taper off the user’s dose of Demerol over a period of weeks. This method helps to reduce withdrawal symptoms and is safer than quitting “cold turkey.” Sometimes, a physician will prescribe medications to help with the withdrawal process.

Two medications that are commonly used to treat Demerol withdrawal are Suboxone and Subutex.

Both of these medications help with the painful symptoms of opioid withdrawal and have the same active ingredient, buprenorphine. Suboxone also has a second active ingredient, an opioid antagonist called Naloxone. Naloxone makes it next to impossible for the user to feel the euphoric effects of opioids, making relapse less likely.

“The theory behind this treatment is that the repeated absence of the desired effects and the perceived futility of abusing opioids will gradually diminish craving and addiction. Naltrexone itself has no subjective effects following detoxification (that is, a person does not perceive any particular drug effect), it has no potential for abuse, and it is not addictive.”

National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2012

Treatment for Demerol Addiction

There are many treatment options available to those struggling with Demerol addiction, including inpatient and outpatient programs. If you’re ready to overcome your addiction, please call us now. We offer free consultation to anyone seeking help and our treatment specialists can assist you in finding the right treatment program.

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Sources & Author Last Edited: April 11, 2017

  1. RxList. (2015). "Demerol". Retrieved on October 4, 2015 from:
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2012). "Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition)". Retrieved on October 4, 2015 from:
  3. Journal of Gastrointestinal & Digestive System. (2015). " Meperidine Withdrawal Syndrome Associated with Low Dose Short Term Use". Retrieved on October 4, 2015 from:
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