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 immedi

Dilaudid Addiction
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