A narcotic analgesic that can be used for the relief of most types of moderate to severe pain, including postoperative pain and the pain of labor. Prolonged use may lead to dependence of the morphine type; withdrawal symptoms appear more rapidly than with morphine and are of shorter duration.
Meperidine is a synthetic opiate agonist belonging to the phenylpiperidine class. Meperidine may produce less smooth muscle spasm, constipation, and depression of the cough reflex than equivalent doses of morphine. The onset of action is lightly more rapid than with morphine, and the duration of action is slightly shorter. The chemical structure of meperidine is similar to local anesthetics. Meperidine is recommended for relief of moderate to severe acute pain and has the unique ability to interrupt postoperative shivering and shaking chills induced by amphotericin B. Meperidine has also been used for intravenous regional anesthesia, peripheral nerve blocks and intraarticular, epidural and spinal analgesia. Meperidine is considered a second-line agent for the treatment of acute pain.