Dilaudid is the brand name of the drug hydromorphone, which is used to relieve pain.
This medicine is in a class of drugs called opiate analgesics. It works by changing the way the brain and nervous system respond to pain.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved hydromorphone in 1984.
Dilaudid can slow or stop your breathing if it is overused, and can lead to complete cessation of breathing (respiratory arrest) and death.
You should never take this medicine in larger amounts or for longer than your doctor prescribes.
Before taking Dilaudid, tell your doctor if you have ever experienced:
- Brain disorders, such as a head injury, seizure, or tumor
- Breathing problems, such as asthma, sleep apnea, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Kidney or liver disease
- Mood or mental disorders, such as depression
- Stomach or intestinal problems
- Difficulty urinating
- Gallbladder disease
- Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
You should also tell your doctor if you or anyone in your family has a substance-abuse issue, drinks alcohol frequently or regularly, has ever used street drugs, or has ever abused prescription medicines.
Taking certain medications with Dilaudid may increase your risk for serious or life-threatening side effects.
The injection form of Dilaudid is available in a regular-strength solution and a concentrated solution that contains more of the drug.
Your doctor will prescribe the concentrated solution only if you are opioid tolerant, meaning you have been treated with specific doses of narcotics for at least one week, allowing your body to adjust to the medicine.
The concentrated solution may cause serious side effects or even death if it's taken by someone who is not opioid tolerant.
Pain medicines work best if they are taken when the symptoms first occur. This drug may not work as well if you wait until your pain worsens.
You shouldn't stop taking this medicine without first talking to your doctor. The drug may cause withdrawal symptoms, especially if it's been used regularly for a long period of time or in high doses.
If you use Dilaudid for a long period of time, it may not work as well. Talk to your doctor if you notice the medication stops working for you.
The 'Dilaudid High' and Abuse
Dilaudid has a high potential for abuse. It can be habit-forming, and in some cases, it can cause drug addiction.
You should take this medicationD exactly as your doctor prescribes to lessen the risk of addiction.
Also, be sure to store all drugs, especially opiate painkillers, in a safe place where they can't be taken by anyone who doesn't have a prescription for them.
Pregnancy and Dilaudid
Studies have revealed that Dilaudid may cause harm to an unborn baby.
You should tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant before taking Dilaudid.
The medicine can also pass into breast milk and may harm a breastfeeding infant. You shouldn't breastfeed while taking Dilaudid.
Dilaudid Side Effects
Common Side Effects of Dilaudid
You should tell your doctor if any of the following side effects are severe or don’t go away:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Dry mouth
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Mood changes
Serious Side Effects of Dilaudid
You should stop taking Dilaudid and call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following serious side effects:
- Slowed or stopped breathing
- Rash or hives
- Difficulty swallowing
- Swelling of the eyes, face, lips, tongue, mouth, or throat
You should tell your doctor about all prescription, non-prescription, illegal and recreational drugs; herbal remedies; and any nutritional or dietary supplements you’re taking, especially:
- Buprenorphine (Buprenex, Butrans, in Suboxone)
- Butorphanol (Stadol)
- Ipratropium (Atrovent)
- Medications for glaucoma, irritable bowel disease, Parkinson's disease, ulcers, and urinary problems
- Pentazocine (Talwin)
- Isocarboxazid (Marplan)
- Phenelzine (Nardil)
- Selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar)
- Tranylcypromine (Parnate)
Dilaudid and Alcohol
Drinking alcohol or using street drugs while taking Dilaudid increases your risk of serious, life-threatening side effects. You should talk to your doctor about these risks.
Dilaudid may also make you drowsy. You should exercise caution when driving or operating machinery.
Dilaudid is available as immediate-release and extended-release tablets, an injection, a rectal suppository, and an oral liquid. Your dose will depend on your condition, pain level, and other factors.
Injectable Dilaudid is typically administered once every two to three hours as needed.
You should take the oral Dilaudid by mouth as directed by your doctor. You can take this medicine with or without food.
Do not crush, open, or break an extended-release tablet. Swallow it whole.
If you are using liquid Dilaudid, carefully measure each dose using a medicine measuring spoon or syringe. Do not use a kitchen measuring spoon. If your liquid is a suspension, you should shake the bottle well before each dose.
The rectal suppository is typically taken every three to eight hours. You should not take this form of medicine by mouth.
A dilaudid overdose can be fatal. If you suspect an overdose, you should contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. You can get in touch with a poison control center at (800) 222-1222.
Symptoms of an overdose include the following:
- Slow or difficult breathing
- Muscle twitches or spasms
- Pinpoint pupils
- Lightheadedness or loss of consciousness
- Clammy skin
- Weak heart beat
- Weakness or fatigue
Missed Dose of Dilaudid
If you miss a dose of Dilaudid and are taking it on a regular schedule, take your missed dose as soon as you remember.
However, if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue on your regular dosing schedule. Don’t double up on doses to make up for a missed one.