Dilaudid Addiction & Abuse
- 1. What Is Dilaudid?
- 2. Dilaudid Prescriptions and Dosage
- 3. Dangers of Dilaudid and Overdose
- 4. How Long Does Dilaudid Stay in your System?
- 5. How Long Does Dilaudid Withdrawal Last?
- 6. Dilaudid Side Effects
- 7. Dilaudid For Pain And Drug Comparisons
- 8. Dilaudid With Other Substances
- 9. Dilaudid Related Topics
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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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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
- 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:
- Dry mouth
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.
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:
- Watering eyes
- Runny nose
- 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.
|Drug Name||Method of Administration||Equivalent Dose|
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.
- Social isolation
- Stomach pain
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.
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
- Decreased blood flow to the brain (hypoxia)
- Suicidal thoughts
- 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.
- Drowsiness and dizziness
- Decreased blood pressure
- Labored or shallow breathing
- Weakened pulse
- Stomach spasms
- Muscle twitches
- Cold and clammy skin
- Blue lips and fingernails
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.
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
- Severe drowsiness
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.
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.
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.
- 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
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.
Common Dilaudid withdrawal symptoms include:
- Drug cravings
- Muscle and bone pain
- High blood pressure
- Agitation or irritability
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.
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.
- 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.
- Seizures (serious)
- Rash or hives (serious)
- Joint pain
- Nausea or vomiting
- Muscle pain
- Dry mouth
- 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
- 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.
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.
- Lowered heart rate and respiratory rate
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.
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
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.
Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider. View our editorial policy or view our research.