Dilaudid Side Effects | Common & Severe

Dilaudid is classified as a schedule II controlled substance with a high potential for abuse that can lead to psychological or physical dependence.

Dilaudid is the brand name for hydromorphone or hydromorphone hydrochloride. It’s classified by the FDA/DEA as a schedule II controlled substance with a high potential for abuse that can lead to psychological or physical dependence.

Hydromorphone is also available under the brand names Dilaudid-5, Exalgo, and Palladone.

The medication is considered an opioid analgesic, which means it’s used to treat moderate to severe pain. It works by binding to the opioid receptors in the brain and central nervous system (CNS), changing how the body responds to pain.

Whether taken as directed or abused, Dilaudid comes with a number of side effects ranging from mild to severe. If you take too much, it can even be fatal.

Common Side Effects Of Dilaudid

Dilaudid can come with several different side effects, but some are more likely to occur than others.

The most common side effects of hydromorphone include:

  • drowsiness
  • tiredness
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • constipation
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • stomach pain
  • lightheadedness
  • sweating
  • flushing
  • dry mouth
  • mood changes
  • itching
  • diarrhea
  • blurred vision
  • insomnia

Severe Side Effects Of Dilaudid

Dilaudid can also come with some very serious side effects, including the potential for life-threatening effects.

If you experience any of the following side effects, you should see your healthcare provider as soon as possible:

  • shallow breathing
  • sleep apnea
  • weak pulse
  • confusion
  • severe weakness
  • serotonin syndrome
  • loss of appetite
  • dizziness
  • agitation
  • hallucinations
  • fever
  • sweating
  • shivering
  • fast heart rate
  • muscle stiffness
  • twitching
  • loss of coordination
  • extreme nausea and vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • severe abdominal pain
  • difficulty urinating
  • loss of appetite
  • unusual tiredness
  • weight loss
  • fainting
  • seizures
  • pounding heartbeat
  • chest pain
  • muscle or joint pain

Dilaudid Drug Interactions

If a healthcare professional is recommending you take Dilaudid, make sure to mention if you are on any medications.

The following may cause serious issues when mixed with hydromorphone:

  • mixed opioid agonists/antagonists like butorphanol, buprenorphine, pentazocine
  • opioid pain or cough relievers like codeine or hydrocodone
  • alcohol
  • marijuana
  • benzodiazepines such as alprazolam, lorazepam, zolpidem
  • muscle relaxants
  • antidepressants
  • antihistamines
  • MAO inhibitors
  • some supplements, vitamins, and over-the-counter medication

Allergic Reactions

If you are allergic to any of the ingredients in this opioid medication, you should likely avoid taking it.

An allergic reaction to Dilaudid can look like this:

  • rash
  • itching
  • dizziness
  • hives
  • respiratory depression
  • swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • hoarseness

Pre-Existing Conditions

Dilaudid should also be avoided if you have certain pre-existing conditions.

The pain medication can actually make the following health issues worse:

  • brain disorders like a head injury or tumor
  • breathing problems like asthma, sleep apnea, and COPD
  • kidney disease
  • liver disease
  • mental/mood disorders like anxiety or depression
  • personal/family history of a substance use disorder
  • stomach/intestinal problems like constipation or paralytic ileus
  • gallbladder disease
  • pancreatitis
  • underactive thyroid
  • adrenal gland issues

Dilaudid should also not be taken if you’re breastfeeding as it can pass into your breast milk and to the baby. This could lead to the baby showing signs of unusual sleepiness, difficulty feeding, or trouble breathing.

Dilaudid Overdose

If you abuse or take a high dose of hydromorphone, you have an increased risk of overdosing on the prescription drug.

More specifically, taking too much of the drug can lead to very severe symptoms which, if left untreated, can lead to a fatal overdose.

Some of the signs and symptoms of an opioid overdose include:

  • blue-colored fingernails and lips
  • breathing problems
  • sedation
  • cold, clammy skin
  • loss of consciousness
  • low blood pressure
  • pinpoint pupils
  • weak pulse

If you or a loved one is experiencing any of these symptoms, you need to call 911 to get emergency medical attention.

Withdrawal Symptoms

If you’re abusing Dilaudid and/or addicted to it, stopping use all of a sudden can lead to just as many adverse effects as taking the medication in the first place.

Opioid withdrawal symptoms stem from the development of physical dependence and can include:

  • muscle pain
  • diarrhea
  • tremors
  • drug cravings
  • body cramps
  • sweats
  • shaking
  • vomiting
  • anxiety
  • agitation
  • high blood pressure

Treatment For Dilaudid Addiction

Treatment for an addiction to Dilaudid will likely start with a detox program. During these programs, you receive medical support and supervision to help stave off the worst of the withdrawal symptoms.

After that, you can either go to inpatient or outpatient treatment. While there, you’ll go to therapy and support groups, and have any co-occurring disorders treated if necessary.

If you or a loved one lives with opioid addiction, you don’t have to start your recovery on your own. At Northeast Addiction Treatment Center, we offer a variety of treatment options including outpatient services, medication-assisted treatment, and specialized therapy.

For more information, please call our helpline today.

Written by
Northeast Addition Editorial Team

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This page does not provide medical advice.

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