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Meperidine (Demerol®)

By: Dr. Nicholas Dodman

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Overview

  • Meperidine HCl is a drug used as a painkiller and a sedative. Its effects are similar to those of morphine.
  • Like morphine, meperidine can create drug dependence and sudden withdrawal following long-term use may precipitate a withdrawal syndrome.
  • Meperidine is classified as a schedule II controlled substance. Its use is stringently regulated by the DEA.
  • Meperidine is a prescription drug and can only be obtained from a veterinarian or by prescription from a veterinarian.
  • This drug is not approved for use in animals by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) but may be prescribed legally by veterinarians as an extra-label drug.

    Brand Names and Other Names

  • This drug is registered for use in humans only.
  • Human formulations: Demerol® (Sanofi)
  • Veterinary formulations: None

    Uses of Meperidine

  • Meperidine is used as a painkiller to control pre- and postoperative pain, and to control pain caused by trauma or degenerative disease.
  • Meperidine is also used as a narcotic to induce sleep.
  • Meperidine has been used as a cough suppressant.

    Precautions and Side Effects

  • While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, meperidine can cause side effects in some animals.
  • Meperidine should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug.
  • Meperidine should not be used in patients with head injuries or space-occupying lesions within the cranium.
  • Meperidine causes bradycardia and low blood pressure. For this reason, it should be administered slowly when given intravenously.
  • Meperidine can cause constriction of the airways, making it more difficult for the animal to breathe.
  • At high doses, meperidine may produce excitement and convulsions in cats.
  • Meperidine may interact with other medications. Consult your veterinarian to determine if other drugs your pet is receiving could interact with meperidine. Such drugs include L-deprenyl (Anipryl®), various sedatives, other narcotics, antidepressants, anxiolytics, general anesthetics and other central nervous system depressants.

    How Meperidine is Supplied

  • Meperidine is available as 50 mg and 100 mg tablets.
  • It is also available as a 50 mg/ml syrup.
  • Injectable meperidine is available in 25 mg/ml, 50 mg/ml, 75 mg/ml and 100 mg/ml concentrations.

    Dosing Information

  • Medication should never be administered without first consulting your veterinarian. Meperidine is most often used in a hospital setting.
  • When used as a premedication prior to general anesthesia in dogs, meperidine is dosed at 1 to 3 mg per pound (2.2 to 6.5 mg/kg) intramuscular or intravenous.
  • For pain relief, in dogs, meperidine is dosed at 1.5 to 5 mg per pound (3 to 10 mg/kg) intramuscular or intravenous. The duration of effect is 45 minutes.
  • When used as a cough suppressant, the dose is 2 mg per pound every 3 to 6 hours (4.4 mg/kg) orally.
  • For premedication of cats, meperidine is dosed at 1 to 2 mg per pound (2.2 to 4.4 mg/kg) intramuscular or intravenous.
  • For pain relief in cats, meperidine is dosed at 1 to 5 mg per pound (2 to 10 mg/kg) intramuscular or intravenous.
  • The duration of administration depends on the condition being treated, response to the medication and the development of any adverse effects. Be certain to complete the prescription unless otherwise directed by your veterinarian.




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