Dilaudid (Hydromorphone) – Drug Information

What is Dilaudid?

Dilaudid is the brand name given to the opioid drug called Hydromorphone (also known as dihydromorphinone. It is prescribed by the doctors to treat pain ranging from moderate to severe. It is recommended by doctors for the long term to treat severe pain, causing due to cancer. Dilaudid affects the brain to change the response of the body towards pain. The patient can take this medication orally or through injection. The effect of this medication lasts for 5-6 hours. Dilaudid is a highly addictive medicine, and its misuse or addiction or overdose can be fatal. You must know that buying or selling Dilaudid without a proper prescription is an offense under the law.

What to know before taking Dilaudid?

You should avoid taking Dilaudid if you are allergic to any of its components or other narcotic drugs or if you experience the following health condition.

  • Breathing issues
  • Sleep apnea
  • Blockage in stomach or intestine
  • paralytic ileus

You should not take Dilaudid if you are using an MAO inhibitor in the last 14 days. As the interaction between these two can be dangerous. MAO inhibitors include isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue injection, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, tranylcypromine, etc.

To ensure that Dilaudid is safe for you, tell your doctor if you face the following medical conditions.

  • noisy breathing, shallow breathing, breathing that stops during sleep;
  • Addiction to drugs or alcohol
  • Mental illness
  • history of head injury, brain tumor, or seizures;
  • Liver infections
  • Kidney infections
  • urination problems
  • sulfite allergy
  • Thyroid
  • Problem in gallbladder
  • Problem in pancreas
  • Addison’s disease or other adrenal gland disorders
  • use of sedative medications such as alprazolam, diazepam, xanax, etc

Expecting mothers should avoid the use of this medication. It may be harmful to the baby and make the baby dependent on that drug. Nursing or breastfeeding mothers should not take Dilaudid.

How to take Dilaudid?

You should take the medication exactly as prescribed by the doctor. You must follow all the instructions on the medicine label carefully. Don’t take Dilaudid more often than prescribed. Consult your doctor if you feel that this medication is not working well enough to relieve the pain.

This medication can be habit-forming even at a regular prescribed dose; therefore, misuse of Dilaudid may cause overdose, addiction, or death. You should never share this medication with anyone. You must consult your doctor before leaving this medication; otherwise, you may experience withdrawal symptoms. The following are some withdrawal symptoms that you may face.

  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Anxiety or panic attacks
  • Depression
  • Muscles or joint pain
  • Nausea
  • Teary eyes
  • Runny nose

After completion of treatment, you must dispose of leftover medicines properly under a drug take-back program, or you can dispose of all the medications by flushing it down in the toilet.

Dilaudid dosage

The dosages prescribed by the doctor is entirely dependent on several factors such as;

  • The age of the patient
  • Symptoms
  • The seriousness of the condition of the patient
  • Any other medication that the patient is using

Dosage for severe pain

For older adults (65 years or more)

The kidney of older adults may not function properly, resulting in a slow drug process in our body. As a result, a high amount of Dilaudid stays in the body for an extended period, resulting in significant risk.

After the full checkup, the doctor should suggest dosage for the patient above 65 years of age. They may increase or decrease the dose to get the desired result.

For adults (18 to 64 years of age)

2-4 mg of Dilaudid after every 4-6 hours. The doctors may increase or decrease your dosage if they think fit.

For children (below 17 years of age)

Doctors should not recommend Dilaudid for patients below 18 years of age.


If you ever feel that you are experiencing any Dilaudid overdose symptoms, you must consult your doctor and ask for medical help as soon as possible. You can avail of medical assistance by calling the poison helpline number at 1-800-222-1222. It would help if you never ignore these symptoms as they can be very dangerous.

Some of the overdose symptoms are as follows:

  • Slow breathing
  • Slow heartbeat and pulse rate
  • Severe drowsiness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Cold and clammy skin
  • Pinpoint pupils

What to avoid while using Dilaudid?

You should avoid taking alcohol till the time you are on this medication, as alcohol interaction with Dilaudid can result in dangerous situations. You should avoid involving in those activities which demands alertness. You should try not to drive and operate heavy machinery while under the effect of this medication.

Dilaudid side effects

You may face a few common symptoms of using Dilaudid, and it is acceptable to experience mild side effects symptoms. But if these symptoms are bothering you too much, then you must consult the doctor. The following are a few common side effects of using this medication:

  • Constipation,
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Flushing
  • Dizziness or drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Tiredness
  • Sweating
  • Mild itching
  • Mood swings

The list, as mentioned above, of symptoms, is inclusive. The patient may experience many many other symptoms as well.

You should tell the doctor immediately if you experience the following problem during the medication.

  • Noisy breathing, sighing, shallow breathing, sighing breathing that stops during sleep.
  • Impotence, sexual problems
  • Confusion
  • Mood swings
  • Infertility
  • Missed menstrual periods
  • Severe weakness or drowsiness
  • A light-headed feeling
  • Low cortisol levels – nausea, vomiting, dizziness, worsening tiredness or weakness, loss of appetite

Seek medical attention right away if you have symptoms of serotonin syndrome, such as agitation

  • Hallucinations
  • Fever
  • Sweating,
  • Shivering,
  • Fast heart rate
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Twitching,
  • Loss of coordination,
  • Nausea,
  • Vomiting or diarrhea

What drugs can interact with Dilaudid?

Hydromorphone present in Dilaudid can interact with other medications and can result in dangerous situations. You should tell the doctor if you are currently taking or was taking the following medicines.

  • Sleeping pills
  • Anti-anxiety medication
  • Antidepressant
  • Narcotic medication such as opioid pain killers, cough medicine
  • Sedative medications such as diazepam, alprazolam, lorazepam, Xanax, Klonopin, Versed, etc
  • Medicines that control serotonin levels in the body
  • Remedy for vomiting or nausea
  • Stimulants
  • Supplements
  • Herbal products

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