Dilaudid is a prescription medication used to alleviate moderate to severe pain caused by cancer, broken bones, major surgeries or other medical conditions that involve chronic pain. Also known as hydromorphone, this drug is part of a class of substances called opioids that alters how the brain responds to pain and eases discomfort. While these substances may be effective in the short term, they can lead to addiction and dependence if used irresponsibly or over a long period of time. Because of this, it’s important that you only take Dilaudid when prescribed by a responsible licensed medical professional.
The generic form of Dilaudid, hydromorphone, was first produced in Germany in the 1920s. During this time, the country was performing extensive research on pain management techniques. Hydromorphone was created as an alternative to other pain relievers that was thought to carry fewer negative side effects and health risks. In 1926, the drug was first sold under the name “Dilaudid.”
Dilaudid can be taken through oral, intravenous or rectal methods. What Dilaudid looks like depends on the form it is in. In its pill form, Dilaudid is typically distributed in small, round, colored tablets or three-sided white tablets. In its liquid form, the drug comes in a slightly viscous and colorless solution, clear or pale yellow in appearance. Dilaudid suppositories are typically oblong in shape.
Once ingested, Dilaudid is processed by the body and used to block pain signals in the brain. Dilaudid is metabolized in the same place in the body as most other opioids: the liver. There, Dilaudid is broken down into a metabolite called hydromorphone-3-glucuronide. This metabolite then goes on to block pain receptors within the brain, and is eventually removed from the body altogether.
The generic name for Dilaudid is hydromorphone. Also known as dihydromorphinone, hydromorphone is a pain-relieving compound derived from morphine. Because it is derived from morphine, hydromorphone is classified as a semisynthetic opioid. This medication is used to address severe to moderate pain, particularly in cases where other opioids could not adequately manage a patient’s pain. Hydromorphone is primarily prescribed to relieve around-the-clock discomfort and is rarely used to address pain on an as-needed basis.
Yes. Hydromorphone is the generic name for Dilaudid. This generic name is derived from the drug’s longer, chemical name — dihydromorphinone. Medications are given chemical names when they are first discovered or created that describe their molecular or atomic makeup. The name dihydromorphine illustrates that hydromorphone is a hydrogenated ketone of another widely used opioid: morphine. Because hydromorphone is derived from morphine, it falls under a class of opioids called semisynthetic opioids. Hydromorphone is the generic name for a collection of prescription opioids other than Dilaudid, including Dilaudid-5, Palladone and Exalgo. Other common drugs that contain smaller concentrations of hydromorphone include hydromorph contin, Dilaudid-HP, Hydrostat IR and Dilaudid Cough Syrup.
The answer is more complicated than it may initially seem. There are three kinds of opiates: pure opiates, semisynthetic opiates and synthetic opiates. Typically, pure opiates, semisynthetic and synthetic opiates are part of a broader class of drugs called “opioids,” while pure opiates are part of a smaller, more specific class of drugs called “opiates.”

A pure opiate is a drug derived from raw opium, a substance that occurs only in opium poppy plants. Raw opium can be extracted from the milk found in the plant’s seed pods and other parts of its structure. The natural pain-relieving qualities of pure opiates have made them ideal for treating nervous disorders, migraines and pain throughout history. Opium has also been used recreationally in many cultures because of its relaxing effects. Morphine — a drug used as a pain reliever but often abused for its euphoric high — is the most well-known example of a pure opiate.

Dilaudid is a semisynthetic opiate, which officially classifies it as an “opioid” instead of a pure “opiate.” While semisynthetic opiates have many of the same physical and psychological effects as pure opiates, they are derived from pure opiates (like morphine), rather than from opium directly. If you’ve ever asked yourself, “What is Dilaudid made of?” the answer is morphine. While semisynthetic opiates were originally created to be safer alternatives to pure opiates, this class of drugs contains some of the most widely abused opioids available today, including heroin, Oxycontin, Opana, Subutex and Suboxone.

Synthetic opiates have many of the same physical and psychological effects as pure and semisynthetic opiates, but they are entirely man-made. Using laboratory techniques, chemists construct synthetic opiates that mimic the chemical structure of pure and semisynthetic opiates, creating drugs that produce similar effects. This amount of control over the chemical composition of the drug allows manufacturers to create synthetic opiates of a variety of potencies. Unfortunately, this control has led to the development of extremely potent and highly abusable opioids like fentanyl.

While all opioids have a similar chemical composition, their relative potency varies dramatically. The way each opioid affects different people also has a great deal of variability based on individual metabolism and genetic makeup. Because of this, physicians usually err on the side of caution during a Dilaudid conversion and underestimate the required dosage, gradually increasing the dosage to manage the patient’s pain safely. Do not attempt a Dilaudid conversion without first consulting a licensed physician.

Narcotics are mood-altering drugs that can be used to dull pain or induce a numbing high by binding to opioid receptors in the brain. Narcotics refer to opioids like morphine, medications that are often prescribed by a doctor to manage chronic, moderate and severe pain. These medications are broken down into two classifications: opiates and opioids. While the term “opioid” can be used to refer to both synthetic and natural narcotics as a whole, it historically refers to synthetic pain medications. Opiates, on the other hand, are alkaloids sourced from the opium poppy plant. Dilaudid (hydromorphone) is a semisynthetic form of morphine, making it a narcotic opioid.

Hydromorphone is a narcotic that has the potential to help those suffering from severe pain after surgery, or manage chronic pain. It is a derivative of morphine that has several brand names, with Dilaudid being one of the most popular. Because Dilaudid is a narcotic, it has the potential for misuse and abuse. Like many other prescription narcotics, Dilaudid can be a powerful medication for those needing help with pain, but others may use it far beyond their need for relief, or use it exclusively to get high. When it is resold or acquired without a prescription (including illegal street selling or purchasing), Dilaudid is being misused.

If you are experiencing pain and believe that you need narcotics to cope, consult with your doctor to develop a care plan. If your use of Dilaudid or other narcotics has become recreational, you should seek treatment by consulting your doctor or reaching out to a rehabilitation center like The Recovery Village.    

Dilaudid Addiction & Abuse
Like most opioids, Dilaudid is prescribed to help relieve pain and discomfort. However, it’s important to keep in mind that Dilaudid isn’t prescribed to every patient who needs to manage pain. Some doctors prescribe Dilaudid for chronic pain, while others may recommend different medications. The reason that Dilaudid is administered varies in each individual case. Because of the strength and addictive nature of this drug, it is only distributed in specific circumstances.
Like other opioid medications, Dilaudid is primarily used for pain relief. Opioids work by physically blocking the pain signals that reach the brain by decreasing the intensity of pain and improving the patient’s emotional response to it.

Because the source of pain can vary depending on each patient’s circumstances, Dilaudid may be prescribed to some people and not to others. Some of the most common types of pain that patients seek Dilaudid to address include:

  • Dilaudid for back pain: Dilaudid can be used to address severe cases of chronic back pain. However, a physician will likely start you on a less intense opioid medication before prescribing Dilaudid.
  • Dilaudid for chest pain: Depending on the source of your chest pain, your doctor may or may not choose to prescribe Dilaudid.
  • Dilaudid for nerve pain: Nerve pain, also known as neuropathic pain, radiates from damaged nerves. While Dilaudid is used by some physicians to address neuropathic pain, there is little scientific evidence to support or refute this medication’s effectiveness in treating any type of nerve pain.
  • Dilaudid for stomach pain: In most cases, Dilaudid can not effectively address stomach pain, mainly because one of the most common side effects of Dilaudid is stomach pain.
  • Dilaudid for pancreatitis: Pancreatitis refers to the sudden inflammation of the pancreas that causes severe upper abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. Dilaudid may be used to address pancreatitis pain in some cases, but it may actually worsen symptoms in others. It’s important for patients who have not previously been prescribed opioids to keep in mind that nausea and muscle spasms are a common side effect of these medications, possibly exasperating pancreatitis pain instead of providing relief.
  • Dilaudid for cancer pain: When undergoing cancer treatment, 1 in 3 people experience varying degrees of pain. Dilaudid can provide significant relief to patients with severe, continuous cancer-related pain.
  • Dilaudid for hospice care: End-of-life care and comfort is an important part of compassionate treatment. Many patients use Dilaudid when dying, as it can help manage chronic pain. Depending on the patient’s needs, a doctor will determine when to administer Dilaudid or other medications, whether it be a steady flow or on an as-needed basis.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that physicians use a three-step ladder for managing pain with opioids like Dilaudid. First, non-opioid, over-the-counter medications like aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen are used to control the patient’s discomfort. If these drugs prove ineffective, mild opioids like codeine are prescribed. If this still does not do enough to relieve the patient’s pain, potent opioids like oxycodone and Dilaudid are prescribed.
Dilaudid may be prescribed to patients recovering from cancer, major surgeries or conditions that involve chronic pain. Before taking Dilaudid, it’s important that you talk to your doctor about your medical history to accurately evaluate if Dilaudid is safe for you. It’s also important to keep in mind that this drug should not be used by anyone who has:

  • An allergy to hydromorphone or other opioid pain medications
  • An allergy to medications that contain sulfites
  • Acute asthma
  • Acute respiratory depression
  • Increased intracranial pressure
  • Fluid buildup in the lungs (pulmonary edema)
  • Severe central nervous system depression

If you or someone you know is abusing a Dilaudid medication or taking the drug illegally, it’s important that you seek medical help sooner rather than later. Consult your doctor today or reach out to a treatment center like The Recovery Village to develop the care plan you need to get back on the right track.

The dosage of a drug is the prescribed amount that should be taken at any given time. Dosages can be expressed in weight, volume, number of dosage forms, or other quantities. Dilaudid pain medicine is available in liquid, pill, suppository and injectable forms. While the recommended Dilaudid dosage varies from person to person, the amount of medication prescribed for adults usually falls somewhere in the following ranges:

  • Dilaudid Liquid Solution: Between 2.5 mL and two teaspoonsful every three to six hours as needed for pain.
  • Dilaudid Pill Dosage: Between 2 mg and 4 mg by mouth every four to six hours as needed for pain.  
  • Dilaudid Suppository: One suppository through rectal administration as recommended by a doctor.
  • Dilaudid Injection: Administer 2 mg under the skin or into the muscle every four to six hours as needed for pain.

Many physicians recommend that patients take Dilaudid with food when taking the medication in liquid or tablet form. This can help prevent the feelings of nausea that may arise when first taking an opioid-based pain medication. Typically, this nausea subsides within three to seven days of taking the medication.

Regardless of which method is prescribed, physicians typically administer Dilaudid in small doses, gradually increasing them as needed. Why is Dilaudid given in small doses? Because accidental overdose and death are possible consequences of taking too much Dilaudid pain medicine. This also helps reduce the risk of addiction, as prolonged use of this medication leaves users vulnerable to Dilaudid pain pill dependency.

Dilaudid pain medication should only be taken with a doctor’s prescription and stopped as soon as your condition improves. If you begin to use an older prescription of Dilaudid as your pain returns, it’s important that you ask yourself a vital question: when does Dilaudid expire? This information can usually be found on the medication’s packaging. If you can not locate the expiration date, consult your doctor before continuing to take Dilaudid pain meds.

Hydromorphone goes by several brand names: Dilaudid, Palladone and Exalgo. All three opioid medications are used to manage severe pain but are not created equal or interchangeably. Dilaudid tablets and liquid are designed for short-term use as they have a high potential for abuse. These forms are prescribed for patients who do not have an opioid tolerance. Regular Dilaudid pills are short-acting hydromorphone tablets that usually come in eight-milligram pills at their strongest potency. In cases that require extreme pain relief, such as for cancer patients, a stronger and more long-acting form of Dilaudid is necessary, which is where the drug Exalgo comes in.

Dilaudid extended-release pills are actually Exalgo brand tablets. While Dilaudid potency ends at eight milligrams, Exalgo comes in 12-, 16- and 32-milligram tablets. These pills allow the release of hydromorphone at a controlled rate in the body, making them ideal for round-the-clock management of severe pain. It is used for cases in which other opioid medications (or regular Dilaudid tablets) prove ineffective. As hydromorphone is one of many narcotics that work to depress the central nervous system, extended-release tablets are reserved only for patients who are tolerant to other opioid pills. This drug should only be prescribed by healthcare professionals who are knowledgeable about prescribing opioids for chronic pain.

Exalgo is not appropriate for individuals with:

  • Allergies to hydromorphone
  • Minor pain that is not recurring
  • Blockage in the stomach or intestines
  • Severe asthma or breathing problems

To determine whether or not extended-release Dilaudid (Exalgo) is right for you, talk with your doctor if you have:

  • Used or are currently taking other opioid medications
  • Breathing problems or lung disease
  • A history of head injury, brain tumors or seizures
  • A previous dependence on drugs or alcohol
  • Current or past mental illnesses
  • Sedative use, such as Valium, Xanax or diazepam
  • Liver or kidney disease
  • Urination issues
  • Sulfite allergy
  • Adrenal gland disorders

Important Considerations With Exalgo

Hydromorphone is a narcotic drug. Regardless of the pain level, your risks increase when you take a high concentration of any narcotic, including Exalgo. Hydromorphone works to slow the central nervous system, and even when used as directed, Exalgo increases your risk of respiratory depression, addiction and overdose. For this reason, it is integral to talk with your doctor before considering Exalgo for pain management, and to use the drug only as prescribed, not for as-needed relief.

Side effects to watch for when taking Exalgo include:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Confusion
  • Seizures
  • Breathing problems
  • Trouble urinating
  • Signs and symptoms of low blood pressure (dizziness, excessive weakness, etc.)

Minor side effects of Exalgo that usually do not require medical attention (refer to your doctor if they persist) include:

  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Tiredness

It is also imperative that extended-release tablets be swallowed whole. Dissolving, chewing, crushing or otherwise taking these tablets in a way not prescribed can result in a potentially fatal dose of the drug. In some cases where Exalgo misuse was reported, the separate acts of inhaling Exalgo powder and mixing the powder with liquid to inject it intravenously resulted in death.

When you start taking Exalgo, it is essential to stop taking all other continuous relief, narcotic pain medications, as serious interactions can occur. Additionally, mixing the drug with alcohol is extremely dangerous and should be avoided. As with any other medication, only your doctor will know which form of pain relief (Dilaudid, Exalgo or another drug) is right for you.

Liquid Dilaudid is an alternative to the regular pill form of hydromorphone, but the two substances affect your body in the same way. Both the liquid and the tablet form are used to manage moderate to severe pain. The liquid form of this pain reliever is a clear, colorless or pale yellow and slightly viscous solution. In terms of the ingredients, Dilaudid oral liquid also includes purified water, methylparaben, propylparaben, sucrose and glycerin. Each five milliliter dosage (one teaspoon) contains five milligrams of hydromorphone, but the exact dosage for you will depend on your doctor’s directions.

If you’ve been prescribed Dilaudid liquid, it is imperative to use it only as directed. It can be taken with or without food. If it is a suspension, be sure to shake the bottle well before each use. This includes using a medicine measure such as a measuring glass or oral syringe to ensure the correct dosage. Do not use a kitchen spoon, as you may not get the correct dose. While this form of hydromorphone is liquid, it is only meant for oral ingestion; plugging or otherwise taking Dilaudid liquid can be harmful at best and deadly at worst.  

Before taking Dilaudid liquid, tell your doctor if you:

    • Are taking other opioid medications
    • Take medication for depression, anxiety or other mental illnesses*
    • Are severely drowsy
    • Have heart problems/disease
    • Drink alcohol regularly or in large amounts
    • Have chronic lung disease
    • Experience problems with your bile duct or gall bladder
    • Have an underactive thyroid gland
    • Are breastfeeding or plan to be soon

*If you take a prescription for depression that belongs to a group called “monoamine oxidase inhibitors,” you must stop taking this medication at least 14 days before taking Dilaudid liquid.

It’s important to remember that Dilaudid liquid affects your body in the same way that the pill form of hydromorphone does. It has the exact same abuse potential and can become addictive in the way that opioid pills can. You can overdose on Dilaudid liquid, and the effects will be just as life-threatening as with any other form of the painkiller. Just as with Dilaudid in pill form, your body will grow accustomed to the daily presence of hydromorphone over time. Whether you’ve been using this medication to manage pain for an extended period of time, or have just started with a new prescription, do not stop taking Dilaudid suddenly, as this may cause uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Stopping liquid Dilaudid cold turkey (and without your doctor’s counsel) can result in withdrawal symptoms like:

  • Restlessness
  • Watering eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Muscle aches

To prevent these withdrawal reactions and safely transition your body off of Dilaudid liquid, talk with your doctor about your prescription and the appropriate action to take to manage your pain. If you are using Dilaudid liquid without a prescription or find yourself dependent on the substance, help is closer than you think. Call The Recovery Village free of charge to speak to an addiction specialist who can guide you toward safe and effective treatment options.   

Dilaudid is a very potent painkiller medication used to treat varying levels of pain. It’s derived from morphine (an opioid), but it’s much stronger four times stronger, to be exact. This is why it’s often administered intravenously to hospital patients in need of pain relief from trauma and other related conditions. Dilaudid is also stronger than IV meperidine, oxycodone and propoxyphene, which are also painkillers. The following table depicts the equivalent dose of each of these opiates:

Drug Name Method of Administration Equivalent Dose
Dilaudid Intravenous 1.5 mg
Dilaudid Oral 7.5 mg
Meperidine Intravenous 75 mg
Morphine Intravenous 10 mg
Morphine Oral 30 mg
Oxycodone Oral 20 mg
Propoxyphene Oral 150 mg


A semisynthetic drug, Dilaudid can be habit-forming and addictive, as all other opioids can be. “Why is Dilaudid so addictive” and “Why is Dilaudid so popular” are common  questions that are asked of this medication. There are a few reasons that it’s so addictive and popular. The first reason is its potency in small amounts, so it’s easy to take more than what’s prescribed (intentionally or unintentionally). Someone who chooses to misuse the drug and doesn’t have a prescription might attempt to measure a certain amount to get high, unaware of its strength in small doses. Another reason is its desirable euphoric effects, which leaves users wanting more of it.

The increasing popularity of Dilaudid and other opioids began in the late 1990s. At this time, healthcare providers began prescribing opioids more often, since pharmaceutical companies reassured the medical community that these medications wouldn’t be addictive. The companies were wrong with their assessments, but they didn’t know it until after thousands of prescriptions went out, resulting in widespread misuse. Now, thousands of Americans die every year from an opioid overdose, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Misusing Dilaudid can quickly lead to physical dependency after just a few days of regular abuse. Dependence can then lead to tolerance. When Dilaudid doesn’t work anymore in the dosage that it once did, it likely means that the body has developed a tolerance to it. This leaves many users with the urge to take more of it, which could easily lead to addiction and withdrawal (if the dosage is decreased or stopped). Some of the most common symptoms of Dilaudid addiction include:

  • Depression
  • Agitation
  • Social isolation
  • Stomach pain
  • Seizures
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations

But these are just the physical symptoms of addiction. Dilaudid addiction can also interfere with day-to-day activities, with the potential to affect relationships, finances and employment. As a strong painkiller, Dilaudid should always be taken only as prescribed to prevent physical dependence, tolerance and addiction.

If you or someone you know is struggling with Dilaudid abuse or addiction, The Recovery Village can help. There are various treatment programs available to aid in recovery, including medical detoxification and outpatient programs. Substance abuse doesn’t have to be part of your life, and you’re not alone in your struggle.

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Dilaudid should only be taken as directed by a licensed doctor. Like any medication, there are inherent risks and side effects associated with hydromorphone, including the potential for overdose. If you have questions about how to properly take Dilaudid, consult with your doctor.
Prescription Dilaudid is typically taken orally in tablet or liquid form to treat moderate to severe pain. However, many people misuse this medication by ingesting it in a different manner to achieve a more rapid and powerful effect. “Can you snort Dilaudid?” is a commonly asked question of those who misuse this drug. Although it is physically possible, snorting Dilaudid is very dangerous and, therefore, should never occur.  

When considering all the methods of ingestion, snorting Dilaudid has the fastest effect, and less of it is required to achieve a “high” compared to other methods. The reason is that the drug enters the blood faster when it’s inhaled in a powdered form than when taken orally. Those who choose to misuse Dilaudid by snorting it typically pulverize the pills into a powdered form to inhale it with a straw or other tube. This means of inhalation can result in a number of very serious and potentially fatal physical and mental dangers, including:

  • Increased risk of addiction and overdose over other methods of ingestion
  • Brain and facial damage
  • Damage to nasal passage cartilage
  • Diarrhea
  • Decreased blood flow to the brain (hypoxia)
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Psychosis
  • Depression
  • Hallucinations and paranoia

Of course, just as with any other substance use disorder, snorting Dilaudid can interfere with relationships, finances and employment. When used without a prescription, Dilaudid use can also result in arrest. It’s also important to keep in mind that Dilaudid can have adverse reactions, even if taken as prescribed, so veering from a doctor’s recommendations can multiply these undesired effects. Abusing this medication can result in addiction, overdose and other potentially fatal conditions.

As mentioned in the previous section, abusing Dilaudid can result in an overdose. If an overdose were to occur as the result of snorting Dilaudid or ingesting it in any other manner it could result in any of the following symptoms:

  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness and dizziness
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Labored or shallow breathing
  • Weakened pulse
  • Stomach spasms
  • Seizures
  • Muscle twitches
  • Cold and clammy skin
  • Blue lips and fingernails
  • Coma

Many of these symptoms can be life-threatening; if you or someone you know ever overdoses on Dilaudid, it’s important to seek medical help immediately. So, can you snort Dilaudid? Yes. Should you snort Dilaudid? Never. The risks of misusing this drug far outweigh any benefits, so it’s best to take Dilaudid only with a valid prescription and as prescribed.

There are various drug rehabilitation centers throughout the country that can help with Dilaudid abuse and addiction, whether it involves snorting Dilaudid or any other method of ingestion. The Recovery Village is one of them. Centers offer a variety of programs, including medical detoxification, residential treatment and partial hospitalization programs. With intake coordinators available around the clock, the first step in entering the world of recovery is just a phone call away.

Some doctors may prescribe hydromorphone as a rectal medication. Because it doesn’t have to pass through the digestive system, this form of the medication is ideal for certain patients who have undergone gastric bypass or who are in a weakened or hospice state. It is important to note that Dilaudid is formulated and dosed differently when used rectally as opposed to orally or intravenously. It should only be taken rectally with a doctor’s orders, and doses should never exceed the recommended amount or frequency. While it can be an effective way to manage moderate to severe pain for some, hydromorphone, or Dilaudid, also has the capacity for misuse. It can be extremely habit-forming in any form, especially rectally.

For those who misuse opioids, the rectal administration of hydromorphone, also known as plugging, is done to experience a high faster than oral ingestion. Most drugs that are administered rectally are more efficiently dispersed throughout the body, prompting some to misuse Dilaudid by plugging. Whether you are using rectal hydromorphone with a doctor’s orders or recreationally, there are several risks involved, the greatest of which is the potential for slowed or suspended breathing. Dangers include:

  • Slowed or stopped breathing (especially for those with asthma)
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Increased risk of dependence and addiction
  • Diarrhea
  • Severe drowsiness
  • Constipation
  • Lightheadedness
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Impotence
  • Infertility

Rectal hydromorphone is also especially dangerous when used in conjunction with alcohol, antidepressants, additional opioids and other prescription drugs. Be sure to disclose all medications and substances you are taking to your doctor to ensure your health and safety. Those with severe asthma or lung disease, abnormal spinal curvature that impacts breathing, or history of lung disease should avoid rectal hydromorphone, as the medication can impair breathing.

Personal hygiene is also important when using rectal morphine products. Improper hygiene can lead to an increased risk of infection. When administering the medication, be sure to thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water. While Dilaudid can be prescribed as a rectal suppository, those who misuse it may occasional dissolve other forms of the medication in water and use additional materials to administer it rectally. The misuse of Dilaudid in this form can also pose additional risks, as the improper cleaning or continuous reuse of these materials can cause infection.

Like all other forms of Dilaudid, rectal hydromorphone has the potential to be addictive and should only be used with care under the supervision of a licensed doctor. If you or someone you know is abusing the drug by plugging Dilaudid recreationally, it is important to get medical help. The Recovery Village offers treatment, including medical detox, throughout the country. These facilities specialize in clinical care for opioid addiction and other substances.   

IV pushing typically refers to the medical practice of injecting a medication intravenously through an injection port instead of using a drip bag. In a medical setting, a nurse manually administers the medication by measuring the drug and “pushing” the end of the syringe. IV pushing administers the entire dose in a short period of time, while a drip bag gradually disperses fluid medication over time. In a hospital setting, a Dilaudid IV may be used following surgery or for other severe pain. Dilaudid IV pushing should only be performed by a trained professional who thoroughly understands the dosage and conversions for Dilaudid and other opioids. The amount used in a drip bag is different from the amount used when pushing. 


Outside of a clinical setting, IV pushing can also refer to simply administering a drug intravenously with a needle and syringe. There are many slang and street names for Dilaudid IV pushing, including “shooting up,” “slamming” and “jacking up.” Those who inject opioids often do so because it results in an almost instantaneous high. Like rectal administration, intravenous injections bypass the digestive system for a more immediate feeling of euphoria for those who are misusing the drug. Aside from the dangers of a Dilaudid high and prolonged drug use, there are many physical risks associated with shooting Dilaudid and other opioids, including:

  • Blood-born diseases like HIV
  • Collapsed veins
  • Staph or other infections as a result of bacteria from your skin or dirty appliances
  • A higher chance of overdose because the drug does not pass through the digestive system
  • Poor blood flow resulting in feet, ankle and leg swelling

If you or someone you know is addicted to Dilaudid and taking it intravenously, it’s important to seek help. Aside from the immediate physical dangers of shooting up, there are also long-term health risks as well as the potential for overdose and death. Home detox can often be dangerous, with extreme withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Medical detox at a licensed facility is the safest option. When combined with residential or outpatient treatment, medical detox for Dilaudid IV pushing can be an effective first step toward long-term healing. The Recovery Village has several different treatment programs throughout the United States, including plans with medical detox. When you start your rehabilitation journey with The Recovery Village, you begin a lifelong process toward health with the help of trained professionals and caring staff.

Yes. Dilaudid is typically prescribed as an oral liquid, immediate-release tablet, extended-release tablet or as a rectal suppository to relieve various levels of pain. However, when misused, it can result in a “high.” Getting high on Dilaudid or any other opioid can be very dangerous. To fully understand why a Dilaudid high is so dangerous, it’s important to first understand exactly how the drug affects the body. Two primary questions to consider are: “When does Dilaudid kick in?” and “When does Dilaudid wear off?” Answering these questions can provide insight on how Dilaudid makes the body feel when a high is achieved.

Dilaudid generally takes about 30–45 minutes to take effect in the body, based on how it’s taken, the dosage and the metabolism rate of the person taking it. These factors also affect how long it takes for Dilaudid to wear off in the body. Doctors who prescribe this medication typically recommend that it be taken “as needed,” which is usually how long it takes for it to wear off. This could be anywhere from three to eight hours, depending on how it’s ingested. Always follow your doctor’s recommendations for Dilaudid, and read the label on the bottle or package to be sure you’re taking it correctly.

When Dilaudid is misused to achieve a high, its effects on the body are different from those that occur when it’s taken as prescribed. Misusing this medication is done by snorting it or mixing it with alcohol, which can enhance its effects. A Dilaudid high occurs when the drug interacts with kappa receptors in the brain, which are associated with visceral pain. The effects on the brain occur within seconds. Once the drug takes effect in the body, the receptors are activated and a euphoric feeling ensues.

Although euphoria and a state of relaxation are the desired effects of getting high on Dilaudid, this can be very dangerous. Breathing problems are commonly associated with Dilaudid highs, among other symptoms. These problems can be especially dangerous if they occur while sleeping. Another potential risk of getting high on Dilaudid is the increased risk of chronic use, which can lead to dependence, tolerance, addiction and withdrawal (if the dosage is decreased or stopped). Of course, addiction and withdrawal both have their own symptoms, many of which can also be fatal.

Getting high on a prescribed drug — or any other drug — often increases the risks of various health problems. It’s important to keep in mind that any desired effects associated with a high are always temporary and never worth the risks. Perhaps you’re currently struggling with Dilaudid abuse or addiction and experiencing adverse reactions as a result. Perhaps you’re at a place where you know you need help. That’s where The Recovery Village comes in. Whether you just have questions about your options, or you’re ready to enroll in a rehab facility, someone is always available to speak with you.

How long Dilaudid stays in your systems depends on a number of factors, including your weight, age and how much is taken. Consult your doctor to ensure that you are taking the correct dose Dilaudid or any other medication.
Medications serve different purposes and affect people in various ways. They also have differing half lives, which vary from drug to drug. A drug half life is the amount of time it takes for a substance to lose its pharmacologic activity, or for the plasma concentration to reach half of its original concentration. It is also referred to as biological half life, or terminal half life. To address the “what is the half life of Dilaudid” question, it’s important to consider the method of administration. Considering the amount of time it takes for it to be eliminated from other parts of the body and reach a steady state is also important.
If taken intravenously, the terminal elimination half life of Dilaudid medication is about two hours. When taken orally (8 mg of liquid or tablets), the elimination half life is twice as long, at about four hours. These numbers may vary, however, depending on the dosage. In general, oral liquid or tablets of Dilaudid take longer to produce the desired effects in the body, but they last longer.
When it comes to drug testing, many may have questions about how long Dilaudid an expanded opiate stays in other parts of the body. Just as with many other prescription drugs, this medication can remain in some parts of the body longer than others. The following is a list of the amount of time it takes for Dilaudid to be eliminated from various parts of the body (including blood) after the last use:

  • Urine: 2–3 days
  • Blood: Less than 24 hours
  • Saliva: 2–3 days
  • Hair: 3–6 months

These ranges are dependent on the dosage of Dilaudid, among other factors, including:

  • How the drug is chemically prepared
  • Any other medications that are being taken simultaneously
  • The user’s:
    • Overall health
    • Metabolism rate
    • Liver and kidney health
    • Gender
    • Age

Another factor to consider when evaluating the half life of Dilaudid is the amount of time it takes for this medication to reach a “steady state.” This is determined by the half life. Steady state is a condition in which the introduction of a substance keeps pace with its removal so that all concentrations remain constant. For most drugs, it takes four times longer than the half life for them to reach a steady state.

The half life of Dilaudid may differ compared to other prescription painkillers. Always consult your doctor with any specific questions regarding the half life or symptoms of Dilaudid. Half life will always be considered by a doctor when determining how to alter the prescription (lowering the dosage, changing the frequency of the doses, etc.). If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to Dilaudid, contact The Recovery Village to speak with someone who can help.

Quitting Dilaudid in its liquid or pill form can lead to unpleasant physical and mental withdrawals. This is because your body grows accustomed to the presence of this narcotic pain reliever. You can become dependent on Dilaudid in as little as two or three weeks. Symptoms can range in severity depending on how much of the drug is taken and how long the abuse of the drug lasts. The longer you take Dilaudid, the worse the withdrawal symptoms can be once you stop taking it.

Common Dilaudid withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Drug cravings
  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Tremors
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • High blood pressure
  • Shivering
  • Agitation or irritability
  • Depression
  • Insomnia

If you’re addicted to an opiate like hydromorphone, withdrawals can include severe sickness within a short time of your last dose. If you stop Dilaudid cold turkey, without taking anything else to ease the transition, you may begin to feel withdrawal symptoms within as little as six hours. In most cases, Dilaudid withdrawals start anywhere from 12–48 hours after your last use of Dilaudid. The first telltale symptoms you may experience are sweating, anxiety and runny nose, followed by muscle cramping.
In most cases, Dilaudid withdrawals peak after the first 14 hours following your last dose. The most intense symptoms will likely fade after the third or fourth day of not taking Dilaudid. In the days and weeks following (day 5–14), depending on the severity of the drug abuse, people may experience lingering symptoms of anxiety, insomnia and irritability. The length of Dilaudid withdrawal depends on the severity of your addiction, length of use, dosage, other substance abuse and any pre-existing health conditions. People who take larger doses of Dilaudid (such as Exalgo extended-release tablets) for a long period of time generally have a longer withdrawal period.

Uncomfortable at best and life-threatening at worst, Dilaudid withdrawal symptoms shouldn’t be overlooked. If your symptoms worsen, call your doctor or physician for advice on the best course of action to handle withdrawal. With the right care and nutritional support, withdrawal can be much more tolerable. Generous nutritional supplementation can ease some of the more manageable symptoms of withdrawal like cramps. Taking vitamin C, calcium, magnesium and B vitamins can all help ease the transition off of Dilaudid.

It’s never a good idea to quit Dilaudid cold turkey without talking with your doctor first. Consult with your primary care doctor or physician about a lower dose of Dilaudid or a supplemental medication you can take in its place. Your physician will be able to advise you on the safest way to emerge from a dependence on Dilaudid and provide immediate care if complications arise.   

Most prescription medications carry a variety of side effects. Dilaudid is no exception. While some side effects are minor, others can be severe, so be sure to consult with your doctor about your history and any other medical issues. When opioids like Dilaudid are abused or combined with other drugs, some negative side effects may be enhanced, or new side effects and risks may occur. Talk with your doctor if you experience unusual or intense side effects.
The short and simple answer is “no.” Dilaudid can result in a number of negative side effects, even if used as prescribed. Some are major, and others are minor. Some are common, and others are rare. Itching is a possible side effect of Dilaudid for certain users, but it’s uncommon (less than 5 percent of users with side effects, based on a 2017 report). Although it’s rare, Dilaudid itching can be severe in some cases, with users reporting severe itching all over their body. Those who experience it commonly ask, “Why does Dilaudid make you itch?” but unfortunately, the exact reasons are not clearly defined. What is clearly defined are some of the factors that are commonly associated with Dilaudid itching.
In 2016, a review on Dilaudid and itching was submitted to the FDA. This review was created by eHealthMe and based on accounts of more than 17,000 people who reported having side effects associated with Dilaudid. Of the people who experienced itching, 70 percent were new users (less than a month of use), 28 percent were 60 or older and 71 percent were female. Dilaudid itching has also been reported by people with high blood cholesterol and rheumatoid arthritis. Although an exact cause of itching related to Dilaudid use is not known, these reports lead medical professionals to believe that a combination of certain factors could increase the chances of this symptom.

If you are experiencing Dilaudid itching that’s interfering with your day-to-day tasks, or you think you need medical attention, call your doctor immediately. There may be treatment available to alleviate itching discomfort. Phenergan is a commonly prescribed medication for itching. However, taking Dilaudid with Phenergan is not recommended, since it can increase side effects like confusion, dizziness and drowsiness. This combination can also cause a number of other side effects, with the potential for new side effects to develop over time. These include pneumonia, constipation, dependence and hepatic necrosis.

Just as with any other prescription drug, Dilaudid can result in a variety of undesired side effects, including:

  • Dilaudid and seizures: Although not common, seizures are a possible side effect of Dilaudid in high doses. This is considered a serious side effect.
  • Dilaudid and dyspnea: Dyspnea, or shortness of breath, is also a serious side effect of Dilaudid. If you ever experience this symptom, be sure to contact your doctor or seek medical attention immediately.
  • Dilaudid and air hunger: Also known as respiratory distress, air hunger is characterized by labored breathing or shortness of breath. This could be a serious side effect, so contact your doctor if you have any concerns.
  • Dilaudid and sleepiness: Dilaudid may cause drowsiness, but in most cases, this side effect is not serious.

These are just a few of the potential side effects of Dilaudid. There are dozens of others some of which can be quite serious. If you have any questions about the side effects you experience from Dilaudid, call your doctor to determine if medical attention is necessary.

Regardless of the method of administration, Dilaudid can result in a number of other side effects, in addition to itching. These include:

  • Seizures (serious)
  • Rash or hives (serious)
  • Joint pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Muscle pain
  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Flushing
  • Agitation (less common)
  • Breathing trouble (less common)
  • Back pain (less common)

Remember, if you’re concerned about a particular side effect, or if you feel you may need medical attention, call your doctor immediately for more information. Never seek treatment (such as an over-the-counter medication) for an adverse reaction to Dilaudid on your own without first consulting your doctor.

Dilaudid Addiction & Abuse
Dilaudid is a pain medication that can be administered in the hospital or at home with a valid prescription. There are a variety of opioid pain medications, so your doctor will be able to decide which one is best for you. The best option will depend on a number of factors, including your medical history, tolerance to other medications and type and intensity of pain.
Migraines can take many forms, but symptoms often include a pulsating pain far more intense than an average headache, sensitivity to sound and light, vision changes or loss, aura, nausea and vomiting. For many, migraines can be debilitating and last hours, if not days. Some people who experience them might even resort to a stay in the hospital, where they may be treated with IV Dilaudid for migraine.

Because the medication is a short-acting opioid, it is sometimes used to alleviate the pain symptoms associated with migraines. And while IV Dilaudid can be an effective treatment for some, it typically only masks the pain symptoms instead of alleviating the migraine entirely. Some patients report that Dilaudid actually causes migraines or rebound headaches.

Because it is often used as a last resort in a medical setting, Dilaudid is not the most effective medication for long-term treatment. It also does not normally end a migraine, but instead covers up the pain associated with it. Dilaudid is normally most effective for occasional use to combat severe headaches and migraines as administered by a medical professional. Narcotics are highly addictive, so other options should be explored instead of Dilaudid for headache, especially if you experience migraines on a regular basis. Talk to your doctor about other forms of treatment to narrow down the best option for treating migraines. Other efficient medications for treating migraines include over-the-counter painkillers, prescription triptans and even alternative treatments like Botox.
Dilaudid and morphine are both prescription drugs used to treat moderate to severe pain. They’re often prescribed after other pain medications are found to be ineffective. As opioids, they both work the same way in the body and have other similarities, but they also have many differences. Is morphine stronger than Dilaudid? What is the morphine vs. Dilaudid equivalency? Which is more powerful? These are just a few of the many questions that someone with a Dilaudid or morphine prescription might have. To learn more about the similarities and differences between Dilaudid and morphine, consider the following frequently asked questions:
Dilaudid is a brand for hydromorphone, which is a semisynthetic drug. Morphine, on the other hand, is an opiate derived directly from poppy plants. One of the major differences between the two is the strength level of each drug, in terms of volume. The side effects of each may also vary.
According to the morphine to Dilaudid conversion table, 7.5 mg of morphine equals 30 mg of Dilaudid, when presented in pure form.
Dilaudid is stronger than morphine. To be more precise, it’s four times stronger.
Since Dilaudid is stronger than morphine, it’s often the preferred medication for patients with severe pain because less of it is required for the pain-relieving effects.
Dilaudid is chemically stronger than morphine because it’s a derivative of morphine, making it a semisynthetic drug. Morphine, on the other hand, is found naturally in opium poppy seed plants.
If abused, both Dilaudid and morphine can result in a dangerous high. However, because Dilaudid is stronger than morphine, the high is also stronger.
Dilaudid and morphine are very similar, so if someone has a morphine allergy, they may be wondering if they can take Dilaudid. Fortunately, many people can, since the origin of each drug is not exactly the same. Your doctor can let you know for sure if you can take Dilaudid with a morphine allergy.
Kidney failure can occur with people who take Dilaudid, and most of the people who experience it do so within the first month of using the medication. The same is true of renal failure from morphine. One of the differences, however, is that renal failure is more common with female Dilaudid users than male. With morphine, renal failure is more common with male users than female.  
Dilaudid, morphine and fentanyl are all opioid medications, which means they’re used to treat pain. The strength and volume of each, however, differs. Fentanyl is the strongest, followed by Dilaudid and morphine, respectively.
Both Dilaudid and morphine can be administered intravenously (into a vein, under the skin or into a muscle) in hospital settings for pain relief.
Heroin is an illegal opiate street drug. It is derived from the opium poppy plant and is well known for the powerful highs and feelings of euphoria that it creates. It is also notoriously addictive. Dilaudid, a brand of hydromorphone, is a prescription opioid that is a semisynthetic version of morphine. While both drugs can and have been historically used to manage pain, they both carry the potential to be abused. When these drugs are misused, they carry extreme risks, including addiction, short-term and long-term health effects and death from overdose.

Dilaudid and heroin are very similar in the fact that they are both opioids. However, they can have separate uses and are available through extremely different channels. While Dilaudid is normally administered in a medical setting to manage severe pain, it can also be given as a prescription. While it is designed to treat pain, some may misuse it to get high. Heroin, on the other hand, is an illicit street drug that is primarily used to experience a high. While similar in the fact that they can produce feelings of euphoria, the two drugs can affect the body in different ways. Because Dilaudid is a short-acting narcotic, the effects are usually felt much faster than heroin. On the other hand, a heroin high usually lasts longer.

Heroin is an illicit drug in the United States and is therefore not regulated. Many forms of heroin are cut with other substances, including powerful drugs like fentanyl. The potential for unknown additives being mixed with heroin makes it particularly dangerous for users. While Dilaudid is a regulated opioid, it is only available when deemed medically necessary. Although it is legal when used correctly, Dilaudid should not be used outside of a doctor’s recommendations.

Heroin users may seek out Dilaudid as a fast-acting and “safer” alternative to the illegal substance. Dilaudid is available exclusively with a prescription or intravenously in a hospital or emergency setting to manage pain. Because it is a synthetic form of morphine, it can be stronger and more dangerous than heroin when not used as directed. Hydromorphone should not be considered a legal alternative to heroin in order to get high. Both heroin and Dilaudid carry the distinct risk of overdose and addiction and should not be used together or interchangeably.
Dilaudid and oxycodone are potent opioids, both prescribed for moderate to severe pain (e.g., from cancer or after major surgery). Both drugs impact the brain, lowering pain perception and creating a euphoric state for the individual taking it. While both drugs come in tablet, liquid and extended-release forms, they are not identical. Dilaudid is the brand name for hydromorphone, while oxycodone is the active ingredient in brand name drugs such as Oxycontin, Percocet and Roxicodone.

Arguably the biggest similarity between these two opiates is their inherent abuse potential. Opioids in general pose a greater risk of addiction than other narcotic drugs. If taken consistently for two weeks or more, either drug can be habit-forming and addictive, and require a gradual weaning-off period to stop usage. It is all too easy to take too much Dilaudid or oxycodone as one develops a tolerance, risks overdose and becomes increasingly dependent on either opioid. For this reason, oxycodone addiction and Dilaudid abuse are an increasing problem.

A more aggravating, but still serious, similarity between Dilaudid and oxycodone is that both drugs cause constipation. This is due to the fact that opiates slow down propulsive contractions of the small intestine, slowing digestion time. If you are taking either drug, it’s imperative to stay hydrated and take a stool softener medication or stimulant laxative like milk of magnesia.

Generally speaking, Dilaudid (hydromorphone) is stronger than oxycodone. For an average adult who has not taken an opioid medication before, the starting dose of oral hydromorphone is only two milligrams every three to four hours. For the same person, a starting dose of oral oxycodone is five milligrams every four hours.  

Initial Oxycodone Dosage, by Brand:

  • One Tylox capsule every six hours
  • One Percodan tablet every six hours (maximum daily dose not to exceed 12 tablets)
  • One or two Percocet tablets every six hours (maximum daily dose of six–12 tablets, depending on formulation)
  • One OxyContin tablet every 12 hours, as needed

Initial Dilaudid Dosage, Liquid and Tablet Forms:

  • Oral Solution: For Dilaudid oral solution/liquid, a dosing range of one-half (2.5 mL) to two teaspoonsful (2.5 mg – 10 mg) every three to six hours should be taken.
  • Oral Tablets: Dosing range of 2 mg to 4 mg, orally, every four to six hours.

Concurrent use of Dilaudid and oxycodone should be avoided. Taking an opioid medication along with another opiate, benzodiazepine or central nervous system depressant can result in severe sedation, respiratory depression, coma and, in some cases, death. You should never combine these drugs without first consulting with a medical professional. In some cases, coadministration may be necessary if alternative options prove ineffective. In these instances, the dosage of each drug and length of coadministration should be limited to the minimum required dosage, and patients should be monitored closely by a doctor.

If you think you need Dilaudid or oxycodone to manage severe pain, consult with your doctor first. He or she will be able to assess your current situation and pain level, and may start you on a short-acting drug before an opioid medication like Dilaudid or oxycodone.

To manage pain, doctors may use or prescribe Dilaudid (hydromorphone), Percocet (oxycodone and acetaminophen), or another opioid painkiller. Which medication a doctor prescribes depends on a number of factors, including patient tolerance, history, type of pain, and whether or not the medication also needs to treat fever. In many cases, Percocet is prescribed to manage long-term or chronic pain, or as a reliever after surgery or other injuries. While Dilaudid is also prescribed to treat severe pain at home, it is often used in a hospital setting while pain is most intense, or by cancer patients.

Both Dilaudid and Percocet are strong opioids, but their potency depends on the form and dosage taken, along with the patient’s body composition. In general, Dilaudid is a stronger drug, and its fast-acting capabilities can help patients experience relief quicker. While every situation and physician is different, Dilaudid is generally reserved for patients with more severe pain or after other methods have been exhausted. Because Dilaudid is available as an IV, especially in the hospital, it can be extremely powerful, as it bypasses the digestive system for near-instant relief.

Both Dilaudid and Percocet are powerful opioids with the potential to become addictive, so they should only be used under the guidance of a licensed physician. As schedule II controlled substances, they are both only safe to use with a valid prescription for a medical need. Using either drug outside of these parameters can lead to dependence, overdose and even death. If you are struggling with Dilaudid or Percocet addiction, there are many resources available, including rehabilitation centers like The Recovery Village. With the help a dedicated medical staff, you can overcome addiction and better understand your psychological and physical needs.
Dilaudid and Percocet are two brand-name pain relievers. Dilaudid is the brand name of hydromorphone, and Percocet is the brand name for a mixture of oxycodone and acetaminophen. To relieve pain, the opioid Dilaudid acts on the brain to lower pain perception. The opioid oxycodone works the same way in Percocet, with the added fever-reducing qualities of the non-opioid chemical, acetaminophen. Both painkillers relieve moderate to severe pain and cannot be obtained without a prescription. However, they are not identical medications.
To know whether you should take Dilaudid vs. Percocet for pain, your best bet is to talk to your doctor about your current situation and pain level. Both drugs cause less-than-pleasant side effects like constipation (taking stool softeners is recommend) and dizziness. While both opioid medications are prescribed to manage pain, there are different considerations with each. Hydromorphone (Dilaudid) works well to relieve moderate to severe pain, comes in many forms (tablets, liquid, extended-release pills) and works faster than most other pain medications, generally speaking.

As a combination medication, Percocet can be effective; it works in 30 minutes or less, and relief usually lasts for four to six hours. However, it can be a riskier pain reliever than Dilaudid. This is due to the fact that the acetaminophen (more commonly known as Tylenol) in it can cause liver failure and even death if you take more than the maximum daily dose. When you take Percocet, you must be especially vigilant of how much acetaminophen you consume, as it is a common ingredient in many over-the-counter pills and non-prescription drugs. It is vital to not take too much Percocet, as too much acetaminophen can seriously harm your liver. Just 12 Percocet tablets (4000 milligrams of acetaminophen) can damage your liver enough to be life-threatening.

When the question is “Dilaudid vs. Percocet to get high,” it’s important to note that neither of these drugs should be used to achieve a high, as they are both extremely habit-forming. Both drugs are fast-acting, meaning they begin working in your body in 30 minutes or less, and both can cause severe drowsiness. Whether you are prescribed Dilaudid or Percocet, you should only take the lowest dose possible, for the shortest amount of time possible, to relieve pain. Misusing either drug beyond your prescription limitations, or just to get high, can result in a destructive drug dependence and fatal overdose.

Combining or misusing Dilaudid and/or Percocet just isn’t worth it. Using either drug with alcohol, combining with too much acetaminophen or simply taking more than prescribed can have detrimental — and potentially long-term — effects on your mental and physical health. If neither medication works to relieve your pain, or if the side effects are unbearable, talk to your doctor about switching your prescription. If you find yourself addicted to one of these opioids, with or without a prescription, help is closer than you think. Call The Recovery Village today to speak with a caring intake coordinator about your options for medical detoxification and further treatment. 

Dilaudid and Duragesic (a brand name of fentanyl) are both opioid medications that share some characteristics but are not used for the same purpose. Both drugs are ideal for those who need stronger pain relief after other opioid medications have proven ineffective. However, Dilaudid is for moderate to severe pain (like after surgery) while fentanyl is reserved for only the most severe cases of pain. In short, fentanyl is much more expensive, potent and deadly than Dilaudid.

For perspective, fentanyl is a narcotic medication that is up to 50 times more potent than heroin and up to 100 times stronger than morphine. For this reason, the legal restrictions, prescription limits and rules for use are increasingly stringent. When its use is deemed necessary by a medical professional, it is prescribed in varying forms: a dissolving tablet, mouth spray, lozenge, buccal tablet, nasal spray and even as a lollipop. Regardless of its form, fentanyl is so potent that doctors often reserve it for patients who have terminal cancer. Fentanyl does not provide fast relief from chronic pain; rather, it affords long-term pain relief, requiring lower doses per day than Dilaudid to manage the same level of pain.

Typically, an eight-milligram dosage of Dilaudid is prescribed to manage unbearable pain. Fentanyl, on the other hand, is doled out in much smaller and potent doses — the drug can be lethal at doses as small as 0.25 milligrams. If prescribed Duragesic (fentanyl), you will likely receive between 25 and 100 micrograms per hour. Even proper use of fentanyl can produce the following side effects:

  • Analgesia
  • Sedation
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Depressed breathing

There are several ways to take Dilaudid (pills, extended-release tablets, etc.) and many ways to take Duragesic (fentanyl). When considering a Dilaudid or fentanyl patch, it’s important to note that the Duragesic fentanyl patch requires 12 hours to take effect, while all other forms of the narcotic work in as little as 30 minutes. The patch carries its own risks, such as the need to keep it away from heat sources, as exposure to high heat can cause the medication to release into your skin in an unsafe manner. The deadliest aspect of the patch is this: In the case of overdose, you will likely not be able to get the drug out of your body very quickly. In these cases, an opioid agonist (and life-saving medication) such as naloxone may need to be administered to revive you or someone you know who is currently using the fentanyl patch.

While fentanyl is much stronger than Dilaudid, the risk factors associated with both drugs are the same:

  • History of lung problems
  • Being older than 65
  • Decreased thyroid hormones
  • Current use of medicine that affects the CYP3A4 liver enzyme

By far the largest commonality between Dilaudid and fentanyl is their high abuse potential. All opioids are more habit-forming than other, non-narcotic medications, but both fentanyl and Dilaudid are strong enough to cause a chemical dependence within two weeks, even if used as prescribed. This is why the prescribing of all opioids — Dilaudid and fentanyl among the most dangerous — is done with the utmost care for situations in which no other medication proves effective. As with all opioids, your doctor or physician will work with you to determine if fentanyl or Dilaudid is needed for your pain level, and adjust your dosage accordingly.

In terms of their similarities, both are opioid pain medications, and both can be taken in tablet, syringe and solution dosage form. Dilaudid, however, can also be taken in capsule, liquid and suppository dosage form. The side effects of each drug also vary. For example, according to a study on the physical concerns of taking hydromorphone, chronic pancreatitis was the No.1 concern. For codeine, nausea (a known side effect) was the top concern.

Another factor to consider when comparing and contrasting Dilaudid and codeine is the formulation of each. This is important for people with allergies to either substance. If you’re allergic to codeine, you may be wondering what other pain medications you can take. You’ll be happy to know that many people can take Dilaudid with a codeine allergy. Your doctor can give you more information on this.

Vicodin, like Dilaudid, is commonly prescribed for moderate to severe pain, but these medications differ in their ingredients, dosage forms and side effects. In terms of their ingredients, Dilaudid includes hydromorphone (a derivative of morphine) while Vicodin includes hydrocodone (a semisynthetic opioid synthesized from codeine). In terms of their dosage forms, both medications are available in a tablet format, but Dilaudid is also available in a solution, syringe, capsule, liquid and suppository form.  

Comparing Dilaudid with Vicodin also raises questions about the associated side effects of each. Some of the common side effects of Dilaudid include joint pain, nausea and muscle pain. Some of the common side effects of Vicodin include anxiety, dizziness and vomiting. Both medications may also cause various serious side effects, which may require medical attention. Consult your doctor if you have any specific questions about Dilaudid or Vicodin, whether they’re related to the ingredients, dosage forms or side effects.

Dilaudid and Oxycontin, both narcotic pain relievers, have a number of similarities, but no two opioids are exactly alike, and these two are no exception. One of the major similarities between the two is that they’re both available in liquid and tablet form. They also have extended-release forms, which are prescribed for people who need a higher, controlled dose. The most common side effects of each drug are also comparable. They include drowsiness, headache, lethargy, vomiting and drowsiness. However, because Dilaudid is more potent, its side effects may be more intense than those of Oxycontin.

Dilaudid differs from Oxycontin in that Dilaudid is available in many more dosage forms. The ingredients of each are also different. Dilaudid contains hydromorphone while Oxycontin contains oxycodone. A doctor is the only person who can determine which medication is best for pain. Some of the factors that are typically considered include the severity of pain, the location of the pain and how long the pain has persisted.  

Dilaudid and tramadol are both powerful pain relievers. Although they provide the same effects in the body, these two opioids are not exactly alike. One of the main differences is the fact that Dilaudid includes hydromorphone while tramadol does not, and of the two of them, only hydromorphone is derived from morphine. In terms of the most common concerns of each, nausea ranked No.1 for tramadol while chronic pancreatitis ranked No.1 for Dilaudid, based on a recent study.

Comparing Dilaudid with tramadol may raise a question about which medication is best for pain, but this is a question that only a medical professional can answer. Some of the factors that are considered when determining which drug is best for pain are the level of pain (moderate, severe, etc.), frequency of pain, age of patient and if any allergies are present.

Two of the 16 most-abused opioids in America, Dilaudid (hydromorphone) and Demerol (meperidine), are closely related prescription drugs. Both opioids are derived from morphine, meant for short-term use, and are taken to alleviate post-surgery pain. However, Demerol is mostly used in the practice of obstetrics as a premedication, not for general pain as Dilaudid is. In addition, they are both Schedule II drugs that are highly regulated and should only be taken under the guidance of a licensed medical professional. The side effects of both narcotics are similar, including drowsiness, constipation and trouble breathing (due to central nervous system depression). Unlike Dilaudid, Demerol usage is linked to a syndrome similar to Parkinson’s disease. This is because Demerol use produces a metabolic byproduct of meperidine that damages neurons.
Opana ER (extended-release form of oxymorphone hydrochloride) is the brand name of a synthetic opioid painkiller similar to Dilaudid (hydromorphone). It is used for around-the-clock management of severe pain and eases breakthrough pain (severe pain occurring while already on an opioid medication). It’s sold in varying formulations such as Numorphan and Numorphone. In the same opioid family as Dilaudid, Opana is designed for use by those who have a tolerance for other opioids, but it is not used in the same way as hydromorphone. Opana is sometimes prescribed to improve the effects of surgical anaesthesia and severe anxiety — neither of which Dilaudid is used for.

The two narcotics do share the same side effects: constipation, drowsiness and itching. And as an extremely potent opioid, Opana carries the same abuse potential as Dilaudid, making it imperative to use the drug only as directed. If crushed, injected or ingested in any other way than orally, Opana releases its full dose (meant to be released into the body slowly) all at once, which can lead to a potentially fatal overdose. Opana and opioids similar in strength (including other medications containing oxymorphone) should be used with the utmost care and only as prescribed.  

Dilaudid (hydromorphone) is derived from morphine, while methadone was developed to be an alternative to morphine without the addictive elements. Both drugs were developed for people who already have a high opiate tolerance and/or addiction, as Dilaudid treats breakthrough pain and methadone is a taper medication. More specifically, methadone is a synthetic, prescription opioid used as a withdrawal treatment option for those addicted to other opioids. By its brand names, methadone can be purchased as Dolophine, Methadone HCL Intensol and Methadose. The main difference between Dilaudid and methadone is their usage: Dilaudid is used to manage moderate to severe pain and not as a taper medication for those struggling with addiction, as methadone is. However, methadone is not a truly effective taper medication in an increasing number of cases, as it is highly habit-forming and can cause withdrawal symptoms, just like the original drug that was abused.

Using Dilaudid with methadone is not a wise decision. Both drugs are narcotic analgesics that should not be combined. Mixing the two drugs can trigger a variety of extremely unpleasant — and potentially life-threatening — reactions in the body, such as labored breathing (due to the depression of the central nervous system), irregular heartbeat and even coma. Mixing these opioids also increases drug tolerance, making it much easier to overdose. For this reason, concurrent use of two opioid medications should only be started under the supervision of a medical professional. If you are struggling to manage pain while on Dilaudid, talk to your doctor about switching prescriptions or trying extended-release tablets (Exalgo). And if you battle addiction and want to begin the work of recovery, controlled doses of methadone may be the right taper medication for you.

Commonly called Norco, Vicodin (hydrocodone and acetaminophen) is a combination medicine and opioid painkiller similar to Dilaudid (hydromorphone). Both prescription drugs come in pill and liquid form and act on the brain to lower pain perception. Unlike Norco, Dilaudid is an opioid analgesic that contains one type of pain reliever. Vicodin (Norco on the street) is a mixed medication of hydrocodone, a power painkiller, and acetaminophen (more commonly known as Tylenol), a fever-reducer.

One consideration with Vicodin that isn’t a factor with Dilaudid is that of the acetaminophen. Over time, the acetaminophen in Norco can damage the liver to the point of failure and/or necessary liver transplant. If you have a pre-existing liver condition or regularly consume Tylenol, you must be increasingly vigilant when taking Vicodin to avoid permanent damage to one of your body’s most integral organs.

Taking two opioid medications at the same time, like Dilaudid with Norco, should only be done under the supervision of a doctor or pharmacist, never with the intention of getting high. These drugs exacerbate each other’s effects, making it all too easy to overdose. If you have a prescription for one of these opioids, do not consider taking the other to ease your suffering as this can have life-threatening, calamitous results. Talk to your doctor if your pain level becomes unbearable. There are options to manage pain without combining Dilaudid with Norco.  

Suboxone is a combination of naloxone and buprenorphine. It is a narcotic used in medication-assisted treatment. For many recovering from opioid addiction, it is part of a detox or aftercare process. It is only available with a prescription and is designed to be used along with counseling and support for long-term sobriety from harsh opioids. Like other opioids, Suboxone can be abused and patients may develop a physical dependence when it is used more than directed.

Subutex is a similar medication used to treat opioid addiction. It contains buprenorphine, but lacks the naloxone present in Suboxone. This medication helps manage Dilaudid cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

You should also never take Dilaudid with Subutex or Suboxone. Instead, Suboxone or Subutex should be used instead of Dilaudid to transition away from the stronger opioid. Combining the two can present severe health risks and counteracts the purpose of the treatment drugs. Combining them can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms as the long-lasting effects of Suboxone and Subutex are overridden by the short-term effects of Dilaudid.

When used correctly under doctor supervision, medication-assisted treatment can be an effective way to manage opioid addiction and distance yourself from its effects. If you are looking for help with a Dilaudid addiction, The Recovery Village can help. With several rehabilitation facilities throughout the United States, there is a program to fit your unique needs.

Combining medications — whether they be prescription or over the counter — can be dangerous. Before taking Dilaudid, be sure to disclose any other medications you are taking to your doctor, as it can have negative reactions with other substances.
If alcohol is a regular part of your diet and routine, it may seem harmless to consume it while taking prescription medications. However, consuming alcohol while taking painkillers like Dilaudid can put you at a risk for adverse substance interactions.

When depressants like alcohol are used alongside opioids like Dilaudid, you are at an increased risk for overdose and death, along with a host of short-term side effects. Together, these two substances can impact the nervous system, resulting in lightheadedness, drowsiness and dizziness and impaired judgement. Dilaudid and alcohol can also lead to low blood pressure, difficulty breathing, fainting and coma. Because both substances can impact cognition, it is easier to take more than intended, resulting in an increased risk of overdose.

Because of the dangers associated with the two substances, it is imperative that Dilaudid never be used with alcohol. If you or someone you know is combining these two, there are resources available to help overcome drug and alcohol addiction. The Recovery Village offers a full range of treatment, from detox to aftercare, to help patients heal for long-term recovery.
Aleve (naproxen) is an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory used to treat fever and minor aches and pains. It carries its own set of side effects, including stomach ache, heartburn, constipation, drowsiness, dizziness and itching. Likewise, Dilaudid (hydromorphone), a prescription painkiller, has side effects including dry mouth, sweating, dizziness, blurred vision, nausea, vomiting, insomnia and more.

When Dilaudid and Aleve are combined, these individual side effects may be heightened as the drugs interact. While some experience no problems when taking Dilaudid with Aleve, others report issues like anxiety, constipation, excessive sweating, nosebleeds and hypersensitivity to these and other drugs. Talk to your doctor before combining any other drug with prescription Dilaudid as there could be life-threatening interactions between the powerful opioid and other substances.
Benadryl (diphenhydramine) is an antihistamine used to treat discomfort from itching caused by insect bites, burns, cuts, allergies and more. While it can occasionally be used in conjunction with Dilaudid (hydromorphone) in a medical setting, these two medications carry a moderate risk for negative interactions.

Some doctors may administer Benadryl along with Dilaudid. For example, a cesarean section patient may be given Dilaudid to manage pain following the surgery. As the surgical site heals, many patients may experience itching, so a doctor could combine Dilaudid with Benadryl.

Itching is a side effect of Dilaudid for less than 5 percent of patients, so some may use an antihistamine like Benadryl to control these feelings. However, combining the two medications, especially at home or without a doctor’s supervision can result in confusion, dizziness, drowsiness and, for groups like the elderly, loss of motor coordination and impaired judgement. Unless otherwise instructed by your doctor, avoid using Dilaudid with Benadryl.
Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant, antiepileptic medication used to treat seizures, nerve pain related to shingles and restless leg syndrome. It is available only with a doctor’s prescription and should only be taken at the recommended dosage. It is important to tell your doctor about any other medications you are taking before using Gabapentin.

If you also have a prescription for Dilaudid, it is also important to talk to your doctor about possible drug interactions with Gabapentin and other drugs. There are moderate risks related to combining Dilaudid and Gabapentin, especially for the elderly. Combined side effects may include confusion, drowsiness, dizziness and difficulty concentrating. When using these medications, it is best to avoid driving, operating heavy machinery or performing other activities that require a high degree of mental alertness.
Dilaudid is a pain reliever medication, and many users who experience pain also have anxiety. As a result, they may need additional medications to treat their anxiety symptoms, but combining an anti-anxiety medication with Dilaudid can be dangerous. This combination may result in a number of adverse reactions, some of which can be fatal.

Ativan (lorazepam), Xanax and Valium are three of the most popular brands of medication prescribed for anxiety. Combining Dilaudid with Ativan, Dilaudid with Xanax or Dilaudid with Valium can all result in central nervous system depression, which can lead to serious side effects, including death. In addition, some medicines can interact with Dilaudid and cause a condition known as serotonin syndrome. This condition occurs when various medications cause high levels of the chemical serotonin to collect in the body.

To prevent any undesired effects of combining Dilaudid with lorazepam or any other drug, always tell your doctor about any medications you’re currently taking before receiving a prescription for an additional health condition.

Dilaudid can be prescribed for more than just pain. Although pain is the most common condition, it can also be prescribed as a cough syrup to treat bronchial coughs and chest

pain. In the analgesic form, Dilaudid can be prescribed to treat severe or dry coughing as well. Opioid analgesics suppress the cough reflex, but as a result, they may cause:

  • Respiratory depression
  • Mood changes
  • Mental clouding
  • Euphoria
  • Dysphoria
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Electroencephalographic (electrical activities of the brain) changes

Always consult your doctor if you have any questions about the side effects of Dilaudid, or if your symptoms worsen. Also keep in mind that some symptoms disappear on their own as your body gets used to the medication. Your doctor can give you more information about possible common and rare side effects and how long they typically last.

Dilaudid and other opioids have a variety of side effects that can impact people in different ways. Because everyone’s body chemistry and response to pain medication are unique, there may be different reactions. While Dilaudid and other opioids can make many people drowsy or tired, others report that the prescription medication keeps them awake. This can happen for a variety of reasons, and is most likely related to other side effects. Dilaudid can cause excessive sweating, anxiety, aches and pain, and more. These symptoms, combined with the initial pain that a patient may be using Dilaudid to manage, can keep many awake at night.

Because sleep is so important to maintaining health and reducing pain during waking hours, it’s imperative that patients get adequate rest. If you are unable to sleep while taking Dilaudid or other medications, talk to your doctor about alternative treatment options and ways to get a better night’s sleep. 

If Dilaudid is being misused or taken in excess, a patient may also experience withdrawal symptoms when they begin to take less of the prescription drug. Withdrawal symptoms include cold sweats, restless legs, racing thoughts, nausea and anxiety, all of which are detrimental to healthy sleep patterns. If you or someone you know is abusing dilaudid, it is important to seek help. The Recovery Village offers medical detox programs that can help you safely transition away from opioids and into a residential or outpatient program.
As an opiate, hydromorphone (Dilaudid) is commonly prescribed for humans to treat moderate to severe pain, but it can be given to dogs for their pain as well. It’s typically used to treat severe surgical pain or advanced cancer cases, or to control severe arthritis pain. However, it’s important to keep in mind that Dilaudid for dogs is typically used only in veterinary clinics, since it must be administered intravenously. In addition, a veterinarian can determine the proper dosage of hydromorphone for your canine companion. It’s also important to consider the potential side effects of Dilaudid for dogs. These include:

  • Lowered heart rate and respiratory rate
  • Drooling
  • Panting
  • Lethargy
  • Whining

Because some breeds, such as greyhounds, are more sensitive to these side effects than others, it’s not recommended for all dogs. If you have a prescription for Dilaudid for yourself, never administer it to your dog yourself.

While it may be prescribed for pain following a cesarean section, taking Dilaudid while pregnant is generally not wise. Hydromorphone crosses the placenta and may cause compromise respiratory function in newborns when administered during labor or delivery. Neonatal withdrawal syndrome is also something to consider: Infants born to mothers physically dependent on Dilaudid may also be physically dependent and may exhibit respiratory difficulties and withdrawal symptoms. If an expectant mother orally ingests Dilaudid or Exalgo during pregnancy, it may cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in the newborn. Babies born dependent on addictive substances may need medical treatment for several weeks. As infants are particularly sensitive to the effects of small doses of narcotic analgesics, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should be vigilant of any changes in their baby’s behavior while taking Dilaudid.   

Once breastfeeding begins, if hydromorphone is still required by the mother, pills should be limited to a few days at a low dosage with close infant monitoring. Taking Dilaudid when breastfeeding may cause infant drowsiness, apnea, central nervous system (CNS) depression and even death. Since hydromorphone excretes into the breastmilk in small amounts, those taking Dilaudid when breastfeeding should monitor their child closely for these warning signs:  

  • Increased sleepiness (more than usual)
  • Apneic event
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Breastfeeding difficulty
  • Limpness

If any of these symptoms are noted in the breastfeeding infant, the mother should contact her infant’s pediatrician immediately. To avoid complications with an infant’s health, it’s best for new mothers to manage pain with a nonnarcotic analgesic medications. For mild to moderate pain, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like acetaminophen and ibuprofen are a safe option for new mothers. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, talk with your doctor to identify the right medication for you.  

Dilaudid Addiction & Abuse

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Dilaudid Addiction
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Dilaudid Addiction was last modified: October 23rd, 2017 by The Recovery Village