There are so many prescription painkillers available at this point that it can become confusing and even overwhelming to know the right option for you.

There are so many prescription painkillers available at this point that it can become confusing and even overwhelming to know the right option for you. The following provides an overview of two commonly prescribed drugs, Dilaudid (hydromorphone) and oxycodone.

Brief Overview of Dilaudid vs. Oxycodone:

  • Both Dilaudid and oxycodone are strong painkillers available by prescription
  • They treat pain that won’t respond to over-the-counter pain medicines
  • Oxycodone is a narcotic analgesic that is potent but also has a high abuse potential
  • Dilaudid is hydromorphone hydrochloride, which is closely related to morphine

Dilaudid vs. Oxycodone: Which is Better for Pain?

Dilaudid is usually stronger than equivalent doses of oxycodone. According to the World Health Organization’s three-step treatment ladder for cancer, the first step is a non-opioid medicine. The next step would be a mild opioid, like codeine. The final step is a powerful opioid, such as oxycodone or hydromorphone.

A few things to note about Dilaudid versus oxycodone, and the two drugs in general:

  • Hydromorphone is actually stronger than morphine, and it is faster-acting compared to other pain medicines, so there tends to be a higher potential for abuse than with oxycodone
  • Dilaudid tends to have fewer physical side effects, such as rashes, than morphine
  • Oxycodone tends to work well for breakthrough pain or as-needed, while the longer-lasting versions of the drug can provide around-the-clock pain relief
  • When looking at Dilaudid versus oxycodone, both can cause constipation, and in some cases, it can be severe
  • Dizziness and drowsiness are two common symptoms of both Dilaudid and oxycodone
  • Long-term of use of Dilaudid and oxycodone can lead to addiction and dependence

Finally, with both Dilaudid and oxycodone, the person using the drug will most likely need to be weaned off slowly if they’ve used it for more than two weeks. Doing so can avoid withdrawal symptoms.

If you or a loved one live with morphine addiction or are using morphine recreationally and want to stop, it’s time to seek professional help. The Recovery Village® provides care to those struggling with morphine. Reach out to one of our knowledgeable representatives today to learn how you can start on your path to recovery.

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Editor – Devin Golden
Devin Golden has worked for various print and digital news organizations. Devin's family has been affected by addiction and mental health disorders, which is a large part of why he wants to help others who have either directly or indirectly been affected by these diseases. Read more
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The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with 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 providers.