How Effective is Dilaudid & What are Its Side Effects?

Dilaudid, also known as hydromorphone, is a pain medication with opioid properties. Some medical professionals classify opioid as narcotic. Main purpose of dilaudid or hydromorphone is to treat moderate to severe pain levels.

Important Information about Dilaudid or Hydromorphone

One should refrain from taking dilaudid or hydromorphone if they are suffering from major respiratory problems, or experiencing a blockage in their intestines or stomach. Dilaudid or hydromorphone can affect your breathing cycle by slowing it down or even completely stopping it. This mostly affects the patients after initially taking the drug or changing the dose. One should never use dilaudid or hydromorphone in larger quantities or for a period longer than previously prescribed. One should not attempt to crush, open, or break an extended-release pill. By swallowing it, exposure to a potentially fatal dose is avoided.

Even when regularly dosed, dilaudid or hydromorphone may be habit-forming. One should always take the drug exactly as prescribed by their medical professional. This drug dilaudid or hydromorphone is not to be shared with another individual. Any misuse of the intoxicant pain medication may cause overdose, addiction, or even have fatal consequences. These side effects are more prominent in children or individuals using the medicine without prescription.

Dilaudid or hydromorphone can induce a life-threatening addiction in pregnant women. It may also cause withdrawal symptoms in newborn, if mother had used it during pregnancy. These are all the reasons why it is very important for expectant mother to tell her doctor if she is pregnant.

Dilaudid or hydromorphone should not be mixed with alcohol- Life-threatening side-effects or even death may occur when the medicine is mixed with alcohol.

How Does Dilaudid or Hydromorphone Work?

How Does Dilaudid or Hydromorphone Work?

Dilaudid or hydromorphone has a strong pain relieving effects, and is also connected to opioid receptors in stomach and brain. Dilaudid is classified as and opioid analgesic derived from morphine.

How Effective is Dilaudid or Hydromorphone?

Dilaudid or hydromorphone effectively helps with moderate and severe chronic and acute pain that is usually not relieved by other medicines. Dilaudid or hydromorphone is up to 5 times more powerful than morphine. Dilaudid or hydromorphone is preferable over morphine in patients suffering from kidney disease.

  • Preliminary dosages have to be reduced with elderly, or with patients suffering from disease such as liver or renal disease, or prostatic hypertrophy.
  • Dilaudid needs to be used cautiously with patients with past drug or alcohol dependence.
  • It may be the reason for rapid lowering of blood pressure on standing, also known as orthostatic hypotension.
  • It may be the reason for reduction of reaction times, as well as, one’s ability to drive or operate machinery. As stated above, one should avoid alcohol with the drug.
  • Be well aware to keep it out of the reach of children; one dose is enough to have lethal consequences.

The effectiveness and response time of dilaudid or hydromorphone is excellent. Following the oral consumption, it takes anywhere from 0.5 to 1 hour for peak plasma concentrations to be reached.

Prior to using Dilaudid or Hydromorphone

Patients, who have allergic reaction to hydromorphone, or other narcotic medicines, should refrain from using dilaudid or hydromorphone. If the patient has one of the following health issues, they should not take the drug. Those health issues are:

  • Respiratory or breathing problems, including severe asthma
  • Intestines or stomach blockage
  • Paralytic ileus; also known as bowel obstruction.

One should not use the drug dilaudid or hydromorphone if they used MAO inhibitor too weeks prior. Interaction between these drugs is dangerous. Linezolid, isocaboxazid, mehlyene blue injection, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, tanyclypromine, as well as others are included into MAO inhibitors.

Serotonin syndrome can be caused by other medicines that interact with hydromorphone. One should check if their medical specialist is familiar with usage of medications for any of the following disease: mental illness, migraine, Parkinson’s disease, serious infections, and depression. It may also interfere with medicine for prevention of nausea and vomiting.

If the patient is already treated with similar narcotic, one should abstain from using dilaudid or hydromorphone. Patient should also check with the medical specialist if they are opioid-tolerant.

Also worth noting is that dilaudid or hydromorphone can be habit-forming. Refrain from sharing the drug with others, especially with someone who has a history of drug addiction, or drug abuse.

Keep dilaudid or hydromorphone in places that are out of reach, to prevent others from getting it. It is illegal to sell or give away the drug to anyone else.

What are the Side Effects of Dilaudid or Hydromorphone?

Frequent side effects of dilaudid or hydromorphone include:

  • Mouth dryness
  • Tiredness
  • Drowsiness, dizziness
  • Constipation, vomiting, stomach ache, nausea
  • Feeling of happiness or sadness
  • Itching and sweating
  • Redness in face, warmth, tingly feeling.

If the patient is between the ages of 18 and 60, and does not take any other medication or has any other medical conditions, one can experience the following side effects of dilaudid or hydromorphone:

  • Severe difficulty with breathing (Respiratory depression). This is the prominent side-effect being connected with dilaudid. Respiratory depression is more likely to eventuate in enfeeble, elderly, or in those with preexisting respiratory problems, even when used in restricted dose.
  • Dilaudid or hydromorphone may be abused by drug addicts or by people with addiction disorders.
  • Dilaudid or hydromorphone may cause flushing, sweating, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, sedation, dry mouth, or itchiness.
  • Dilaudid or hydromorphone may affect one’s ability to operate vehicles and machinery. It may also cause drowsiness.
  • Fatal overdose may occur when mixing with alcohol since it increases blood levels of the drug.
  • If abruptly discontinued, it may cause withdrawal problems; one should slowly taper dosage under professional medical supervision to avoid withdrawal problems.

If you show signs of an allergic reaction, you should get an immediate emergency medical help. These signs are: swelling of face, breathing problems, hives, swelling of lips, throat or tongue.

Dilaudid or hydromorphone may slow down one’s breathing. If breathing becomes too weak, it can lead to fatal consequences. Call for medical help if you experience:

  • Confusion, feeling extremely sad or happy
  • Slow and shallow breathing
  • Drowsiness or weakness
  • Light-headedness
  • Infertility in both sexes
  • Sexual problems, impotence, loss of sex drive
  • Nausea, vomiting, dizziness
  • Loss of appetite, tiredness, weakness

If you have symptoms of serotonin syndrome, you should seek medical help. Some of the symptoms include: hallucinations, sweating, fever, agitation, shivering, increased heart rate, incoordination, nausea, muscle stiffness, diarrhea, vomiting, etc.

Respiratory problems are most likely to be found in elderly, ill, malnourished, or enfeeble individuals.


Dilaudid or hydromorphone main purpose is to effectively treat immense pain. It is preferable over morphine with the patients with kidney related disease.

Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 10, 2017

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