Hydromorphone Hydrochloride Withdrawal and Detox

Detoxing from hydromorphone hydrochloride is best completed under medical supervision. Post-acute withdrawal symptoms from hydromorphone hydrochloride are severe when compared to those experienced during other opioid withdrawals. As your body becomes used to less amounts of the drug in your system, several medications can be administered to treat withdrawal symptoms. The cleansing process may involve intense drug cravings and a variety of flu-like symptoms. Patients may experience aches and pains throughout their body along with nausea, vomiting, and chills.

Hydromorphone hydrochloride is a full opioid agonist and pain reliever. It’s primarily administered intravenously in hospital settings as a fast-acting painkiller. Hydromorphone’s rapid onset makes it ideal for treating pain associated with traumatic injury.

Hydromorphone is five times more powerful than the compound that it’s derived from – morphine. An extended-release tablet of the drug was available in the US before being withdrawn in 2005 due to reported high rates of misuse and overdose in North America. The potential for hydromorphone overdose increases when combined with alcohol.

Central nervous system depressants should not be mixed with hydromorphone hydrochloride as they may enhance the drug’s depressant effects. Tell your doctor if you take other opioids, sedatives, barbiturates, phenothiazines, chloral hydrate, glutethimide, anesthetics, hypnotics, benzodiazepines, or dimenhydrinate. Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI’s) should also be avoided along with first-generation antihistamines, and beta-blockers.

Common post-acute withdrawal symptoms from discontinuing hydromorphone use include anxiety, panic attacks, chills, goosebumps, muscle pain, joint pain, runny nose, excessive tear secretion, nausea, and vomiting. Other symptoms may include abdominal pain, depression, anhedonia (inability to enjoy pleasurable activities), and profuse sweating.

Long-term users tend to experience the most intense withdrawals. In a clinical setting, yawning, dilated pupils, and excessive tear production are telltale signs for diagnosing opioid withdrawal.

Although hydromorphone hydrochloride is a fast-acting pain reliever, some formulations can remain effective for up to several hours. When doses aren’t gradually reduced, post-acute withdrawal can have a sharp onset. Withdrawals can begin within hours of the final dose. For some individuals, withdrawal symptoms can last several weeks.

Anxiety and restlessness characterize the first few hours of post-acute withdrawal. Symptoms can peak between hours 14 and 48. During this time, the patient may begin to experience muscle aches, profuse sweating, nausea, tremors, and chills. From here on out, symptoms will likely reduce in severity. By the end of the second week, most patients are done experiencing the flu-like symptoms of early withdrawal. It’s common for symptoms of anxiety, depression, insomnia, and irritability to persist for several weeks or longer.

Several medications can help ease withdrawal symptoms. Antidepressants and anxiolytics can be administered for depression and anxiety, and medications like clonidine can be used to reduce sweating, muscle aches, and cramping. Withdrawal symptoms can be brought on suddenly through the administration of opioid antagonists like naloxone and nalmefene. Opioid antagonists rapidly reverse the effects of opioids like hydromorphone hydrochloride by forcing hydromorphone to release its bond with opioid receptors in the body.
In a hospital setting, doctors can administer medications to make detoxing from hydromorphone hydrochloride more tolerable. Individuals with a high level of physical dependency should have hydromorphone doses reduced gradually. In some instances, synthetic opioids like buprenorphine may be prescribed to supplement hydromorphone hydrochloride. Methadone is another opioid agonist that is commonly used to help ease symptoms of opioid withdrawal. These drugs reduce cravings by producing effects similar to hydromorphone hydrochloride.
Due to the serious nature of hydromorphone hydrochloride addiction, most patients will be asked to complete medical detox before being eligible for admittance into a recovery program. Inpatient programs typically last four weeks. Patients live at the facility and take part in several groups and individual therapy sessions a day. For the vast majority of people recovering from opioid misuse, inpatient will be the best option following detox. It provides patients with a safe place to reflect on their addiction while removed from the temptation to use. They also have the opportunity to share their experiences of substance misuse with people who can relate to their own experiences.

Upon completion of inpatient therapy, patients are encouraged to enroll in an outpatient program. For these programs, patients will usually meet three times a week. Participants take part in exercises and get to know a group of people who help keep them accountable for their recovery.

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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