Drinking alcohol while taking hydromorphone hydrochloride can lead to life-threatening health concerns. In addition to causing blackouts and a variety of other side effects, mixing these substances can increase the chances of an overdose — especially if you take a long-acting form of hydromorphone. For this reason, it is important to understand the dangers of mixing alcohol with hydromorphone.

What Is Hydromorphone Hydrochloride?

Hydromorphone hydrochloride is a prescription opioid pain reliever used to treat moderate to severe pain. The drug is often prescribed on an as-needed basis.

Hydromorphone hydrochloride is derived from morphine but is more soluble. It works by affecting mu opioid receptors in the central nervous system, changing the way the body perceives pain.

Hydromorphone Hydrochloride Side Effects

As with any prescription drug, hydromorphone hydrochloride carries the risk of side effects. Hydromorphone hydrochloride side effects can include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Sweating
  • Flushing
  • Dry mouth

Mixing Alcohol and Hydromorphone Hydrochloride

It is dangerous to drink alcohol while taking hydromorphone hydrochloride. Mixing alcohol and hydromorphone hydrochloride can lead to uncomfortable side effects, including:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Impaired judgment

Serious side effects can include low blood pressure, fainting and blackouts. Mixing alcohol with long-acting forms of hydromorphone can also cause the drug to be released into the body more quickly, raising the risk of overdose.

There is also an FDA Black Box Warning for hydromorphone, which states that serious side effects can occur when the drug is combined with alcohol. These side effects include excessive sedation, slowed breathing, coma and death.

Blacking Out on Hydromorphone Hydrochloride

Blackouts, or fainting episodes, can occur when someone mixes hydromorphone and alcohol. Blackouts are rare when taking hydromorphone by itself, but mixing it with alcohol can increase blackout risks due to a drug interaction between the two substances.

Staying Safe While on Hydromorphone Hydrochloride

Be sure to discuss alcohol use with your doctor when deciding to begin a hydromorphone hydrochloride treatment plan. Your doctor will need to know your typical alcohol consumption levels, no matter how small, to ensure your safety. If you feel you cannot avoid alcohol use while taking hydromorphone, talk to your doctor about other options for addressing your pain.

If you or someone you love is struggling with hydromorphone or alcohol use, The Recovery Village is here to help. Contact us today to learn more about addiction treatment programs that can work well for your situation and needs.

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.

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