Meptazinol is prescribed for moderate-to-severe types of pain.
The most common side-effects are feeling sick, constipation or diarrhoea, and feeling dizzy or sleepy.
Meptazinol is likely to affect your reactions and ability to drive. It may be an offence to drive while affected. Do not drive until you know how you react, especially when you first start treatment.
|Type of medicine||An opioid painkiller (analgesic)|
|Used for||Pain relief|
|Available as||Tablets and injection|
Meptazinol is an opioid medicine (sometimes called an opiate). It is used to treat moderate-to-severe types of pain. It works by binding to certain tiny areas, called opioid receptors, in your brain and spinal cord (central nervous system). This leads to a decrease in the way you feel pain and your reaction to pain.
Meptazinol is usually given for short periods of time only. As such, it can be useful for treating pain associated with childbirth and some kidney problems. It is also used to ease pain during surgical operations.
Before taking meptazinol
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking meptazinol, it is important that your doctor knows:
- If you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- If you have a problem with the way your liver works, or a problem with the way your kidneys work.
- If you have prostate problems or any difficulties passing urine.
- If you have any breathing problems, such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
- If you have been told you have low blood pressure.
- If you have any problems with your thyroid or adrenal glands.
- If you have epilepsy.
- If you have a problem with your bile duct.
- If you have been constipated for more than a week or have an inflammatory bowel problem.
- If you have a condition causing muscle weakness, called myasthenia gravis.
- If you have recently had a severe head injury or a heart attack.
- If you have ever been dependent on drugs or alcohol.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
- If you are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, as well as herbal and complementary medicines.
How to take meptazinol
- Before you start the treatment, ask to read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about meptazinol and will provide you with a full list of the side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
- Take meptazinol exactly as your doctor tells you to. As a guide, the usual recommended dose is one tablet every 3-6 hours when needed to ease pain. Your dose will be printed on the label of the pack to remind you about what the doctor said to you. Do not take the tablets more often than your doctor recommended.
- Swallow the tablets with a drink of water. You can take meptazinol either before or after food, but taking the tablets after food can help prevent feelings of sickness which can occur with the first few doses.
- If you forget to take a dose, don't worry. Take a dose as soon as you remember if you need pain relief, and then carry on as before. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- You should not drink alcohol while you are taking meptazinol. This is because meptazinol will increase the risk that you experience side-effects from the alcohol, such as feeling dizzy and sleepy.
- Meptazinol is prescribed for short periods of pain - you will not be given it for longer than is necessary. If you take opioid painkillers over a longer period of time, your body can become used to them and they will not work as well. This is called tolerance. Also, opioid painkillers repeatedly taken over a period of time can cause withdrawal symptoms when the treatment is then stopped.
- If you are a driver, please be aware that meptazinol is likely to affect your reactions and ability to drive. It is an offence to drive while your reactions are impaired. Even if your driving ability is not impaired, you are advised to carry with you some evidence that the medicine has been prescribed for you - a repeat prescription form or a patient information leaflet from the pack is generally considered suitable.
- If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are taking an opioid painkiller.
- If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with meptazinol.
- If you are planning a trip abroad, you are advised to carry a letter with you from your doctor to explain that you have been prescribed meptazinol. This is because meptazinol is an opioid painkiller and may be subject to certain restrictions in some countries.
Can meptazinol cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the most common ones associated with meptazinol. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.
|Common meptazinol side-effects||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Feeling sick (nausea) or being sick (vomiting), indigestion, tummy (abdominal) pain||Stick to simple meals - avoid rich or spicy foods. Try taking your doses after food, as this may help protect your stomach|
|Feeling dizzy or sleepy||Do not drive and do not use tools or machines. Do not drink alcohol|
|Constipation||Eat a well-balanced diet and drink plenty of water each day. Ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable laxative treatment|
|Diarrhoea||Drink plenty of water to replace the lost fluids|
|Sweating, rash, headache||Speak with your doctor if troublesome|
If you experience other symptoms which you think may be due to meptazinol, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.
How to store meptazinol
- 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
Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.
Further reading and references
; Almirall Limited, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated June 2015.
British National Formulary, 75th Edition (Mar 2018); British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London.