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Symptoms of an overdose with Demerol (meperidine) can vary but may include slow or irregular breathing, extreme drowsiness, limp muscles, or blue skin. Although the effects of an overdose can be fatal, an antidote may be administered to counteract the overdose effects.

Can You Take Too Much Demerol?

Demerol® (meperidine hydrochloride) is a narcotic, opioid drug. It is possible to overdose on this medication; in fact, a Demerol overdose can be quite dangerous. The specific effects of an overdose with this drug can vary, depending on a number of factors, including the Demerol dosage and whether it was taken with any other medications or substances.
Seek immediate medical attention if you or someone else may have intentionally or accidentally overdosed on Demerol.

Symptoms of a Demerol Overdose

People who take too much Demerol may have overdose symptoms that could include:
  • Slow or irregular breathing
  • Blue skin
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Coma
  • Limp muscles
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • A slow heart rate (bradycardia)
  • Low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Loss of life.

Treatment Options

Although the effects of a Demerol overdose can be fatal, an antidote (naloxone or Narcan®) may be administered to counteract the overdose effects. This antidote should be given only if breathing or heart problems occur and should be used very cautiously (and at very reduced dosages) in people who have been taking Demerol chronically, as naloxone can cause severe withdrawal symptoms.
Treatment will also involve supportive care, which consists of treating symptoms that occur as a result of the overdose. For instance, the patient may need to have a breathing tube inserted if breathing becomes dangerously slow or irregular.
It is important that you seek medical attention immediately if you believe that you may have overdosed on Demerol. Early treatment can help limit the severity of a Demerol overdose.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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