Dilaudid vs Demerol

Dilaudid is the brand name for a potent opioid prescription painkiller, generically known as hydromorphone. Demerol is also a powerful opioid painkiller, with the generic name meperidine. Both of these prescription narcotics are used to treat moderate to severe pain, and they are strictly controlled by recommended prescribing practices and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). They are both Schedule II drugs, both derived from morphine, and both potentially addictive.

Both Demerol and Dilaudid are used in limited ways for the management of severe pain, under the supervision of a medical professional. Because they are both opioid drugs used to treat pain, many people wonder what the differences between Dialaudid and Demerol are. This article will explain those differences, effects of Dialudid vs Demerol, their dependence and addiction potential, and how to get help if you or a loved one is struggling with an opioid use disorder.

What Is Dilaudid?

Dilaudid is a prescription opioid medication. Opioids bind to certain receptors in the brain and body, blocking pain messages making them particularly effective for managing moderate to severe pain. However, they also produce a euphoric effect that increases the risk of dependence and addiction.

What Is Dialudid Used For?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Dilaudid for prescription use in 1984. The drug was developed as a powerful painkiller to treat people who needed pain relief all day and for whom other painkillers stopped working.

What Are the Side Effects of Dialudid?

Dilaudid has many of the same side effects as other opioids, including constipation, mild euphoria, nausea, lightheadedness, sweating, and drowsiness. Less common side effects from hydromorphone include:

  • Skin rash.
  • Heart palpitations or irregular heartbeat.
  • Sudden drop in blood pressu.re.
  • Respiratory difficulties

What Is Demerol?

The FDA approved Demerol (generic name: meperidine) for use as a pain reliever and presurgical analgesic in 1942. Meperidine, or pethidine, was originally synthesized from morphine in 1932 and considered a potential antispasmodic medication.

What Is Demerol Used For?

Demerol is still used as a preanesthetic agent and to alleviate pain in post-operative situations, including obstetrics. It is used to relieve severe pain when other medicines do not work or can’t be tolerated. However, it is not prescribed as often as more effective and less sedating opioid drugs, including hydrocodone and oxycodone.

Meperidine is meant to be taken temporarily, and it can lead to addiction or physical dependence if taken for more than 3-4 weeks. People who use Demerol for longer than a month should speak with a doctor to gradually reduce the dosage, which can help prevent withdrawal symptoms.

What Are the Side Effects of Demerol?

Side effects from Demerol are very similar to other opioid drugs and include dizziness, drowsiness, constipation, sweating, changes in pupil size, and mild euphoria. More serious side effects include seizures, fainting, hallucinations, and very low blood pressure. Like other narcotics, Demerol can also lead to reduced or depressed breathing.

Like Dilaudid and other opioid painkillers, alcohol and Demerol do not mix, and grapefruit juice can block the painkilling properties of this medication.

Although Dilaudid and Demerol have different potential long-term side effects, were approved at different times, and are prescribed at different potencies for different applications, both of these narcotic painkillers can be habit-forming and targets for misuse or addiction.

Demerol & Dilaudid Addiction

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction to prescription medications, contact us today at to learn more about addiction treatment for opioid use disorders. At our inpatient rehab in New Jersey, we used evidence-based addiction-focused healthcare to help people get on the road to recovery from opioid addiction.

When you speak with our admissions navigators, they can explain our different levels of care, as well as your payment options for rehab (including using your insurance for addiction treatment). Our navigators can help you start the admissions process, too.

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