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April 3, 1978

Hypersensitivity to Meperidine

JAMA. 1978;239(14):1395. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03280410037011

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To the Editor.—  Observation of two cases within a month of an unusual cellular type of hypersensitivity to meperidine (Demerol) hydrochloride leads us to report this type of reaction, since in both cases numerous physicians were apparently unaware that it occurs.

Report of Cases.—Case 1.—  A 47-year-old woman had an intravertebral disk repaired in April 1976. She was an anxious woman, previously healthy, and was given multiple intramuscular injections of meperidine postoperatively. Ten days after surgery multiple raised reddened lesions developed and were diagnosed as a drug reaction to ampicillin. Ampicillin therapy was stopped, but she was in the hospital for six weeks receiving intramuscular meperidine on numerous occasions. Two weeks after discharge numerous abscesses developed all over her body; they did not respond to antibiotics and several attempts at surgical drainage. She was referred to one of us for treatment of these multiple abscesses. Numerous antibiotics and