Exalgo is a relatively new drug. It’s a controlled-release version of the narcotic pain medication hydromorphone, also in Dilaudid. Exalgo is taken orally as a tablet, and it’s available in different strengths, up to 32 mg. Exaglo is prescribed for the treatment of moderate-to-severe ongoing pain. Exaglo provides around-the-clock pain treatment, and it’s typically taken once every 24 hours at the same time. Since it is an opioid, Exalgo changes the way the body senses pain by binding to receptors throughout the central nervous system. Exalgo is unique from some other narcotic pain medicines because it should only be prescribed to people already tolerant to opioids. Otherwise, they may experience severe respiratory depression.
The U.S. is experiencing what’s often described as an opioid epidemic. The problem of prescription opioid and heroin misuse has become so pervasive that it’s a top priority among lawmakers and public health officials. Opioid misuse often occurs when people are prescribed these drugs, and they take them in ways other than prescribed. Misuse can ultimately lead to the development of addiction. Exaglo is designed to be a tamper-proof tablet to lower the risk of misuse. This means it’s difficult to crush, break, chew or dissolve Exaglo, which are common ways people misuse prescription opioids. Despite these safeguards, there is still the risk of misuse and addiction with this powerful opioid medication. Exalgo can be especially dangerous when it’s misused because of the controlled-release element. If someone does misuse Exalgo to get the entire dose of hydromorphone at once, they may overdose and die.
Mixing alcohol and opioids is always dangerous. Some people might use alcohol with opioids to increase the effects and feel more intoxicated. Some people may do it inadvertently, not realizing the risks of alcohol and opioids used together. Regardless of the reasons, both alcohol and opioids are central nervous system depressants. If someone mixes alcohol and an opioid, it can cause side effects such as:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Extreme intoxication
- Dangerous changes in blood pressure and heart rate
- Loss of coordination
- Changes in mood or behavior
- Impaired judgment
- Short-term memory loss or blackouts
Even beyond these serious risks, when mixing alcohol and Exalgo, the risk of an overdose is extremely high. Exalgo is a potent opioid, and it can cause significant respiratory depression. Alcohol can also cause respiratory depression. When the two are mixed, the respiratory depression can easily become so profound the patient stops breathing and suffers brain damage or dies. Alcohol can also change the concentration of Exalgo in the bloodstream of the patient, making the risk of an overdose even greater.
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Hydromorphone is a dangerous drug when not used as prescribed, or when it’s used in any way other than how it’s medically intended to be used. Exalgo is a powerful narcotic pain medication that can slow or stop breathing. This can occur when the drug is used on its own, particularly in people who haven’t previously used opioids, who misuse it or for people who have recently had their dosage increased. If someone mixes alcohol and Exalgo the already significant risks are even more likely to occur. There are also issues of addiction and dependence that can become more complex to treat when someone is misusing multiple substances simultaneously.
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.