(Generic name: Hydromorphone hydrochloride)

What is Dilaudid?

Dilaudid is a powerful narcotic pain reliever that is similar to morphine. It is used to treat moderate to severe pain. Dilaudid is available in both an oral form and a injectable form.

How does Dilaudid work?

Dilaudid works by binding to the opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord. This action blocks the reception of pain signals from the brain, which reduces the amount of pain that a person feels.

What are the side effects of Dilaudid?

The most common side effects of Dilaudid include dizziness, drowsiness, lightheadedness, constipation, nausea, and vomiting. More serious side effects can include shallow breathing, fainting, and low blood pressure.

Who should not take Dilaudid?

Dilaudid should not be taken by people who are allergic to it, people who have asthma or other breathing problems, or people who have a history of drug abuse. Dilaudid should also be used with caution in pregnant women and elderly people.

Dosage and Administration

Dilaudid is available in both an oral form and an injectable form. The oral form is taken every 4 to 6 hours as needed for pain. The injectable form is given every 3 to 4 hours as needed for pain.

Pharmacokinetics

Dilaudid has a rapid onset of action and a short duration of action. The effects of Dilaudid typically last for 3 to 4 hours.

Long-term effects

The long-term effects of Dilaudid use have not been well studied. However, people who abuse Dilaudid can develop tolerance to the drug and may require increasingly large doses to achieve the desired effect. People who abuse Dilaudid may also develop physical dependence on the drug and may experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking it.

Dilaudid abuse and addiction

People who abuse Dilaudid may take it orally, snort it, or inject it. Injecting Dilaudid increases the risk of overdose and other serious medical complications.

Treatment for Dilaudid abuse and addiction

Treatment for Dilaudid abuse and addiction typically includes behavioral therapy and counseling. Medications may also be used to help manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

Overdosage

Signs of Dilaudid overdose include slow breathing, blue lips and fingernails, cold skin, and loss of consciousness. Treatment for Dilaudid overdose includes emergency medical care.

Why is it prescribed?

Dilaudid is used to relieve moderate to severe pain.

How should it be used?

Dilaudid comes as an oral tablet, an orally disintegrating tablet, and a solution (liquid) to take by mouth. It usually is taken every 4 to 6 hours as needed for pain relief. To help you remember to take Dilaudid, take it at around the same time(s) every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or other health care provider to explain any part you do not understand. Take Dilaudid exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

Your doctor may start you on a low dose of Dilaudid and gradually increase your dose, not more than every 3 days.

If you take Dilaudid for pain that is not caused by cancer, you will probably take it on an as-needed basis. If you take Dilaudid for cancer pain, your doctor may want you to take it regularly. Follow your doctor’s instructions.

To take the orally disintegrating tablet, follow these directions:

Do not remove the tablet from the package until you are ready to take it. If the tablet is removed from the package before you are ready to take it, it may not dissolve properly.

Use dry hands to peel back the foil packaging. Immediately place the tablet on your tongue and close your mouth. The tablet will dissolve and can be swallowed with or without water.

Do not take more than your prescribed dose in 24 hours. If you still have pain after taking your prescribed dose of Dilaudid, call your doctor for instructions.

To take the orally disintegrating tablet by mouth, follow these directions:

Keep the tablet in its blister pack until you are ready to take it. Open the package and peel back the foil from the tablet blister (do not push the tablet through the foil).

Using dry hands, remove the tablet and place it on your tongue.

Do not take more than your prescribed dose in 24 hours. If you still have pain after taking your prescribed dose of Dilaudid, call your doctor for instructions.

To take Dilaudid solution by mouth, follow these directions:

Measure the oral liquid with a marked measuring spoon, oral syringe, or medicine cup. The average dose is usually 1 teaspoon (5 milliliters) every 4 to 6 hours as needed for pain relief.

If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.

Do not take more than your prescribed dose in 24 hours. If you still have pain after taking your prescribed dose of Dilaudid, call your doctor for instructions.