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What is Dilaudid?

Dilaudid is an opioid pain medication that helps to relieve moderate to severe pain. The generic version of this drug is available as hydromorphone. It belongs to a class of drugs known as opioid analgesics. Opioids change how the brain responds to pain and eases discomfort.

Dilaudid is available in the following forms:

  • Immediate-release tablets
  • Extended-release tablets
  • Injections
  • Oral solution

What are the uses of Dilaudid?

Dilaudid is an opioid that physically blocks the pain signals that reach the brain by decreasing the intensity of pain. Hydromorphone helps in the treatment of severe pain that other treatments can’t control. The extended-release tablets are helpful for people who need daily pain treatment.

Dilaudid is helpful in the treatment of the following types of pain:

  • back pain
  • chest pain
  • stomach pain
  • cancer pain
  • nerve pain
  • pancreatitis

Types of Dilaudid

2 mg tablets: It is light orange in color and round in shape. These tablets are flat-faced with beveled edges, imprinted with a “P” on one side and the number “2” on the opposite side.

4 mg tablets: It is light yellow in color and round in shape. These tablets are flat-faced with beveled edges, imprinted with a “P” on one side and the number “4” on the opposite side.

8 mg tablets: It is white in color and triangular in shape, imprinted with a P, and an inverted “P” separated with a bisect on one side of the tablet and imprinted with the number “8” on the other side of the tablet.

Hydromorphone is available in the following forms and strengths:

  • Dilaudid (immediate-release tablets): These tablets are available in 2 mg, 4 mg, and 8 mg strengths.
  • Exalgo (extended-release tablets): These tablets are available in 8 mg, 12 mg, and 16 mg.
  • Dilaudid (injection solutions): It is available in 1mg per ml, 2 mg per ml, and 4 mg per ml strengths.
  • Dilaudid-HP (high potency injections): It is available as 250 mg powder for a solution.
  • Dilaudid-5 (oral solution): It is available as 1 mg per ml.
  • Dilaudid (rectal suppository): It is available in 3 mg strength.

Hydromorphone pills or liquid solutions work quickly in about 15 minutes and reach its peak effect in 30 minutes to an hour.

The intravenous injections of hydromorphone begin to take effect in about 5 minutes.

The intramuscular injections of hydromorphone begin to take effect in about 15 minutes.

All forms of hydromorphone are available at most pharmacies. You can also order Dilaudid online if it is not available in the stores. If you want to buy Dilaudid online, make sure that the medicine is genuine.

How to take Dilaudid?

The dosage of this medicine will depend on several factors. These include:

  • your age
  • the type and severity of the condition you are using this medicine to treat
  • the form of hydromorphone you take
  • other medical conditions you may have

Do not stop using this drug suddenly, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. The withdrawal symptoms include restlessness, tremors, anxiety, vomiting, sweating, agitation, diarrhea, muscle and bone pain.

Do not take too much of this drug because you could have dangerous drug levels in your body, leading to an overdose. The symptoms of an overdose of this drug include:

  • severe drowsiness
  • loss of consciousness
  • severe breathing problems
  • slow heart rate
  • low blood pressure

Dosage for severe pain

Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years): The usual starting dosage for oral tablets is 2mg to 4 mg once every four to six hours. Only opioid-tolerant people should use extended-release oral tablets.

Child dosage (ages 0-17 years): This medicine is not for people younger than 18 years.

What to know before taking Dilaudid?

Before taking this drug, tell your doctor if you are allergic to hydromorphone or other narcotic medications.

To make sure that this drug is safe for you, tell your doctor if you ever had the following conditions:

  • brain disorders such as head injury, tumor, or seizures
  • breathing problems such as sleep apnea, asthma, COPD
  • kidney disease
  • liver disease
  • mood disorders such as depression and confusion
  • a history of drug and alcohol addiction
  • a blockage in your stomach or intestines
  • difficulty urinating
  • adrenal gland problem
  • gallbladder disease
  • underactive thyroid
  • a bowel obstruction called paralytic ileus
  • if you use a sedative like Valium such as diazepam, alprazolam, lorazepam, Xanax, Klonopin, Versed, and others

Do not use this drug if you have used an MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days. It could lead to a dangerous drug interaction. The MAO inhibitors include isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue injection, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, tranylcypromine, and others.

Avoid drinking alcohol while using this medicine because it could lead to dangerous side effects.

Do not drive a vehicle or operate dangerous machinery until you know how Dilaudid will affect you.

Mixing hydromorphone with other pain medications, antipsychotic drugs, anxiety drugs, and sleeping pills may cause:

  • breathing problems
  • extreme tiredness
  • low blood pressure
  • coma

Do not use this drug during pregnancy because it may harm an unborn baby.

This drug passes into breastmilk and may have undesirable effects on the baby, such as trouble breathing and unusual sleepiness.

Side effects of Dilaudid

The common side effects of Dilaudid are as follows:

  • lightheadedness
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • sweating
  • flushing
  • dry mouth
  • itching

These side effects are mild and might go away within a few days or weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects

Hydromorphone can cause some severe side effects. These are as follows:

  • extreme drowsiness
  • trouble breathing or shortness of breath
  • low cortisol levels, including nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, dizziness, worsening tiredness, or weakness.
  • infertility
  • feelings of extreme sadness or happiness
  • cold or clammy skin
  • seizures
  • stomach pain
  • sexual problems or loss of interest in sex
  • irregular menstruation

Some medicines may interact with hydromorphone and cause a severe condition known as serotonin syndrome. The serotonin syndrome symptoms include agitation, hallucinations, fever, sweating, shivering, fast heart rate, muscle stiffness, twitching, loss of coordination, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

This drug is more likely to cause breathing problems in older adults who are severely ill or malnourished.