Exalgo (Hydromorphone) Overdose

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The active ingredient in Exalgo is hydromorphone, a powerful opioid pain medication available by prescription. Exalgo is a brand-name drug, relatively recently approved by the FDA. Exalgo is unique from a lot of narcotic pain medicines in a few key ways. First, Exalgo isn’t an as-needed pain medication. Instead, it’s designed for patients who need around-the-clock, continual treatment for chronic pain. Exalgo is also intended for people who are already tolerant to opioids. Otherwise, there are serious health risks that can occur. Exalgo is also more difficult to misuse. It’s a controlled-release version of hydromorphone. People who misuse opioids often crush, chew or dissolve controlled- or extended-release prescriptions to get the full potency of the medication all at once for a powerful high. Exalgo is a tablet designed to be somewhat tamper-resistant, although the risk of misuse still exists. Exalgo is supposed to be taken once every 24 hours at the same time each day. Common effects of Exalgo when it’s used as prescribed can include nausea, constipation and headache. Also possible are drowsiness and dizziness.
Exalgo (Hydromorphone) Overdose

The recommended dosage for hydromorphone is based on different factors determined by a physician, including previous experience with opioids and the condition being treated. It is possible to overdose on Exalgo, and because of the potency of the drug, the risk is high. Different scenarios could put someone at risk for an Exalgo overdose. These risk factors and scenarios for an Exalgo overdose can include:

  • Taking a dose of Exalgo more frequently than prescribed
  • Taking a larger dose of Exalgo than prescribed
  • Taking Exalgo without being opioid-tolerant
  • Chewing the drug
  • Crushing the drug to snort it
  • Dissolving Exalgo to inject it
  • Combining Exalgo with other opioid medications or heroin
  • Using Exalgo with benzodiazepines or other prescription central nervous system depressants
  • Mixing Exalgo with alcohol, which is also a central nervous system depressant

When someone uses not only Exalgo but any opioid, it binds to central nervous system receptors. In doing so, it changes pain sensations. When opioid receptors are occupied, it can also stimulate brain pleasure and reward centers, which is why addiction is possible. Along with those effects, Exalgo and other opioids slow the functionality of the central nervous system. The central nervous system is responsible for essential tasks like controlling breathing and heart rate. When someone overdoses on Exalgo, it’s usually because the drug slows their breathing to a dangerous and potentially deadly level. Some of the symptoms of an Exalgo overdose can include:

  • Slow, shallow breathing or breathing that seems labored
  • No breathing at all
  • Bluish lips or fingernails
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Confusion
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Nodding off
  • Lightheadedness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Muscle twitches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Weakness
  • Weak pulse

If someone appears to be having an overdose from Exalgo, it’s essential to seek immediate emergency help. When someone overdoses on opioids like Exalgo, they may be given certain medications that can reverse the effects of the drug. Naloxone is an opioid overdose reversal drug that may be used. It’s an opioid antagonist, so it binds to opioid receptors and blocks the effects of the drug the person overdosed on. Monitoring vital signs and treating symptoms as they occur can also be part of treatment for an Exalgo overdose. An opioid overdose can be deadly and often is. It should be taken seriously, and if there is even a slight possibility someone has overdosed on a drug like Exalgo, they need help right away.

We have locations around the country and work on helping treat addiction through evidence, experience, compassion and building a human connection. Contact The Recovery Village to learn more.

Exalgo (Hydromorphone) Overdose
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