How Long Does Demerol Stay In Your System?

Demerol generally stays in your system for a very short amount of time. But how long should you wait before drug testing for Demerol? We discuss Demerol’s half life here, the period of time necessary for 1/2 the drug to be eliminated or disintegrated by natural processes. And a brief discussion of the addictive nature of Demerol here.

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Reviewed by: Dr. Dili Gonzalez, M.D. Dr. Juan Goecke, M.D.

How Do You Take Demerol?

Demerol (the brand name for the medicine called meperidine) is most often taken as needed. Demerol is usually either injected into a large muscle or added to an IV drip by a doctor. However, you can also take Demerol orally as a tablet or a liquid syrup every 3-4 hours as needed and prescribed.  What is Demerol used for?

People who become dependent on Demerol or who use the medication for non medical reasons may crush, chew, snort, or inject the drug. Less common modes of administration include rectal administration or blowing Demerol powder into the lungs. These ways of taking Demerol are major signs of possible prescription pill addiction to Demerol.

Half Life: How Long Does Demerol Stay In Your System?

When we talk about drugs in the body, most health professionals refer to a drugs “half life”. A half life is the amount of time it takes for half of the drug to be removed from a person’s bloodstream. Demerol is a narcotic with a half-life of 2.5-4 hours in adults. This means that it takes 2.5 – 5 hours for one-half the dose of Demerol to leave the body after it has been administered (either by injection, tablet or syrup). Elimination half-life affects the length of time the effects of Demerol are active and can be influenced by:

  • Absorption rate
  • Age
  • Changes in urinary pH
  • Diet
  • Other medications
  • Physical condition
  • Pregnancy
  • Protein binding
  • Use of vitamins and herbal products
  • Variable metabolism

Drug Testing For Demerol

In general, it will take longer than 5 hours for Demerol to leave your body. If you’re worried about Demerol detection in your urine for drug testing, don’t.  Demerol does not usually show up on standard urine tests for opiates. This is because Demerol is an opioid analgesic medication and contains synthetic opiates, which do not metabolize to codeine, morphine, or 6-acetylmorphine.  Therefore, Demerol (meperidine) is not usually detected in urine.

Are You Addicted To Demerol?

Given its acute medical uses and strong pain relieving effect, Demerol can be very addictive. This is why is it listed as a Class II drug by the DEA. If you or a loved one have a Demerol abuse or addiction problem, help is available. You can get treatment and get better. Check out this outline of the Demerol addiction treatment process and programs to learn where you can turn for help and what to expect. To evaluate possible Demerol addiction, see the signs of Demerol use and withdrawal symptoms for opioid pain killers.  Or leave us your comments and questions. We respond to every comment in a comment or video!

About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
Medical Reviewers
Dr. Dili Gonzalez, M.D. is a general surgeon practicing women's focused medici...
Dr. Goecke is a medical doctor and general surgeon with personal experience of...

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a licensed medical professional.


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  1. I had an she xray done and they gave me iv of demerol about 4 days ago I am still having vision problems. When will these vision problems go away?

  2. Hi I feel that I am addicted to demerol, I have been abusing demerol for about a month insnufflating crushed 50mg tablets roughly about 750 to 950 mgs a day. I am trying to stop I haven’t used in approximately 16 hours and am experiencing withdrawal symptoms sweating nausea diarrhea restlessness. How long can I expect this to last with such a relatively short duration of abuse. Please help I screwed up and just want this you end.

  3. Demerol will show up in your system I had a hysterectomy February 23rd and I went to visit my family doctor February 26th they did a urine test for my yearly screening and it showed up it was no biggie because I could explain it but still it was in my urine

  4. I am a former US Marine and I know that it will depend on what they are testing. No matter the branch the testing is done the same for all military members. I will give you this list for each duration and the duration for when the results will return:
    THC- 1 to 3 weeks
    Coke- 2 to 4 days
    Amphetamines- 2 days
    Barbiturates- 1 to 2 days
    Op- 1 to 2 days
    PCP- 5 to 7 days
    L.S.D- 1 to 2 days
    Steroids- 3 days or longer

  5. let me get this straight demerol (meperitab50mg) will not show in a urine screen . I find that hard to believe it has to come up something ! what if a person has one kidney?

  6. I tke methadone now for 16yrs for severe pain but it stops working i feel as far as nerve pain in my back so i was so distressed that a friend gave me a quarter of a 50mg. meperitab which is Demerol it scared me at first cause i felt it within 10 min. then my was gone ! its been yrs since ive felt no pain at all! I slept as well till morning I will tell my doctor about it hopefuly he will understand .

  7. Thanks for sharing your experiences, INFO.

    From my reading, I see that Meperidine Hydrochloride (Demerol) is one of the most commonly known opioid analogs. Analogs are chemical compounds that are similar to other drugs (in this case, opioids) in effects but differ slightly in chemical structure. So because synthetic or semi-synthetic narcotics do not metabolize to codeine, morphine, or 6-acetylmorphine they are not usually detected in urine. Thanks for the correction.

  8. I would just like to point out a mistake on here. Demerol (Pethidine) Will never show in a standard urine test. You can take it and have a test 3 hours later and it will come back negative! Just thought I would let you know

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