Pronunciation: me-PER-i-deen

Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Number: 57-42-1. (Hydrochloride form 5013-5)

Formal Names: Centralgin, Demer-Idine, Demerol, Dolantin, Dolosal, Mepergan,

Pethidine, Pethoid Informal Names: Demmies Type: Depressant (opioid class). See page 24 Federal Schedule Listing: Schedule II (DEA no. 9230) USA Availability: Prescription Pregnancy Category: B

Uses. This drug has been used since the 1930s for easing pain in many conditions, including migraine headaches, surgery, gallbladder attack, sickle cell anemia crisis, childbirth, and emergency treatment of injury on mountaineering expeditions. The drug is also used to manage porphyria, a body chemistry disorder that can make a person extremely sensitive to light and that can include violent outbursts. The substance is used to bring persons out of a PCP psychosis. Experimental usage of meperidine and dextroamphetamine together has reduced symptoms of mental depression, but the test was too brief to measure how long benefits might continue. Oral meperidine dosage can partly numb a person's mucous membranes, and the drug is used as one element of general and local anesthesia. The substance has a calming action but is not considered to be a sleep inducer at medical dosage levels. Upon prolonged usage the calming action can be replaced by depression and uneasiness. Depending on specifics of use, morphine is 6 to 10 times stronger than meperidine.

Drawbacks. Meperidine can reduce blood pressure and can make a person feel faint upon suddenly standing up. Itching, perspiration, muscle tremors, nausea, and vomiting are other unwanted effects. Although constipation is a classic unwanted action of opiates/opioids, meperidine may produce less than morphine does. Meperidine can cause cardiac and breathing difficulty and has been known to cause seizures, delirium, and hallucinations. The drug may promote convulsions in persons who are already susceptible to such affliction. Some tests show the drug to have slight influence on eye-hand coordination and no effect on other voluntary physical movement. Tests oriented specifi-

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