Can I use Demerol if I am taking antidepressants?

If you take an antidepressant, talk to your doctor before using the pain relief medication Demerol (meperidine). Both Demerol and certain antidepressants -- including amitriptyline, desipramine, doxepin, imipramine and nortriptyline -- affect the nervous system. Combining these drugs can increase the risk of serious or potentially life-threatening side effects such as rapid changes in blood pressure, organ failure, coma and even death.

It's especially important that you let your doctor know if you take an antidepressant that's a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI). In combination with Demerol an MAOI can cause complications ranging slow breathing and low blood pressure to coma and death. Because MAOIs take time to clear from the body after a person stops taking them, you could still be in danger of side effects unless at least 14 days have passed since your last dose of an MAOI.

If your doctor decides to prescribe Demerol for you while you're taking an antidepressant, it's likely that he or she will start you on a lower-than-normal dose.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.