|Type of medicine||Opioid analgesic|
|Used for||Pain particularly after an operation or during child birth|
|Also called||Pamergan P100®|
|Available as||Tablets and injection|
Pethidine is used to treat moderate to severe pain. It works on the nerves and brain to reduce the pain you feel. It is particularly useful for treating pain associated with child birth and can also be used to ease pain before, during and after an operation.
Before taking pethidine
Before taking pethidine make sure your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
- If you have liver or kidney problems.
- If you have respiratory (breathing) problems, including asthma.
- If you have prostate or thyroid problems.
- If you have an irregular heartbeat.
- If you have epilepsy or hypotension (low blood pressure).
- If you have recently had a serious head injury.
- If you have a condition called myasthenia gravis (a muscle wasting disease).
- If you have a condition called phaeochromocytoma (a tumour of the adrenal gland).
- If you have been constipated for more than a week or have an inflammatory bowel problem.
- If you have a problem with your bile duct.
- If you are currently or have ever been dependent on drugs or alcohol.
- If you are taking other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to this or any other medicine.
How to take pethidine
- If you have been prescribed pethidine injection, this will be given to you by your doctor or nurse, therefore the information below does not apply to you.
- If you have been prescribed pethidine tablets, the following information does apply to you:
- Read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack.
- Take pethidine tablets exactly as your doctor has told you.
- The usual dose of pethidine between one and three tablets. The dose should not be repeated more frequently than every four hours.
- If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember and then continue taking your doses every four hours as before. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Alcohol will increase any feelings of drowsiness, so try to avoid alcoholic drinks.
- If you are planning a trip abroad you are advised to carry a letter with you from your doctor because pethidine is a controlled drug.
Can pethidine cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Common side-effects||What can I do if I experience this|
|Feeling or being sick||Eat little and often. Stick to simple or bland foods – avoid very rich or spicy food. Your doctor may be able to prescribe a medicine to help with the sickness|
|Drowsiness||If you do feel sleepy, do not drive or use tools or machines|
|Constipation||Try to eat a well balanced diet containing fibre and drink 6-8 glasses of water each day. Your doctor may be able to prescribe a laxative|
|Dry mouth||If you experience this, try sugar-free gum or sweets|
|Sweating||Use a cold, damp flannel or sponge placed on the forehead|
|Difficulty passing urine, flushing of the face, a fast or fluttering heartbeat, seeing or hearing things that aren't real, mood changes, sexual problems or skin rashes||If any of these occur, speak with your doctor|
How to store pethidine
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Further reading & references
- British National Formulary; 62nd Edition (Sep 2011) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
- Manufacturer's PIL, Pethidine Injection; Manufacturer's PIL, Pethidine Injection, Goldshield plc, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated April 2008.
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.
Dr Adrian Bonsall