Dilaudid Side Effects, Long-Term Effects, Interactions & Fact Sheet

Dilaudid Side Effects, Long-term Effects, Interactions, Addiction & Overdose Risks Evaluated. Learn About Dilaudid’s Strength, Effectiveness, and Pain Relief Duration Time-line. Get the Dilaudid Withdrawal & Addiction Treatment Options Facts.

What Are The Most Typical Dilaudid Side Effects?

Dilaudid Side Effects Include:

  • Nausea, vomiting, constipation, sweating, flushing, or dry mouth.
  • Constipation. To prevent constipation consult with a healthcare professional and consider consuming more fiber, drinking more water, and exercising.
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, and drowsiness. To decrease the risk of lightheadedness and falling, get up gradually when rising from a seating or lying position.

What Are the Common Long-Term Effects Of Taking Dilaudid?

If taken regularly for a long time, hydromorphone or Dilaudid side effects can induce physical dependence and addiction to the drug. This means your body becomes more and more tolerant of the drug requiring an every increasing dose to function. Eventually higher doses to get the same pain relief lead to reliance and addiction to the drug. You may feel Dilaudid withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking the drug.

How long Does Dilaudid Pain Medication Last For?

The painkiller activity generally lasts for better than 5 hours. Similar to other opioids, hydromorphone or Dilaudid produces euphoria or feelings of peace, diminished anxiety, respiratory depression, sedation, papillary constriction, and even cough suppression.

How Strong Is Dilaudid For Pain Relief?

Dilaudid is approximately eight times stronger than morphine. The drug Dilaudid is a highly powerful opioid painkiller that should only be dispensed to people who have shown that they can tolerate opioid medications.

What is Dilaudid?

Dilaudid is an opioid analgesic pain prescription drug synthesized from morphine to create a potent hydromorphone drug. We know it by the brand name Dilaudid. It helps people who suffer from severe pain but also puts them at risk for abusing the medication [1].

Dilaudid is sold in immediate-release tablets, oral solutions, and intravenous injections. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) [2] lists hydromorphone as a Schedule II controlled substance, meaning it has a high potential for abuse and a high chance of causing dependency.

Dilaudid addiction means that the person physically and psychologically needs the drug longer than they feel the pain from their injury. This dependency affects all aspects of their life, including family, school, work, and community life.

According to the National Institutes of Health, certain drugs can change the structure and inner workings of the brain. Repeated use affects a person’s self-control and interferes with the ability to resist the urge to take the drug. For instance, being unable to stop taking Dilaudid even though you know the side effects of Dilaudid abuse is the hallmark of addiction. [3]

Medical professionals typically prescribe Dilaudid for pain related to cancer and other serious injuries, such as severe burns or multiple fractures. Like other opioids, hydromorphone works by interacting with parts of the brain in charge of pain. Opioids also affect parts of the brain responsible for motivation and happiness. Some people misuse the drug as Dilaudid side affects can get you high, and the large doses overwhelm the brain’s pleasure center.

The action of Dilaudid takes effect within 15 minutes, and its pain-relieving effects last up to six hours. Dilaudid is habit-forming and is commonly abused amongst consumers for its potent euphoric effects, which have been described as being similar to that of Heroin. Dilaudid side effects can range from mild to severe. However, you should never ignore any of them. Recognizing the hydromorphone adverse effects puts you on the path to helping your loved one seek prescription drug addiction treatment.

Is Dilaudid an Opioid?

One of the most common questions about Dilaudid is whether it is an opioid. Yes, Dilaudid is an opioid. Hydromorphone is considered a semi-synthetic opioid agonist that was derived from the drug morphine. Like other opioids, hydromorphone works on the central nervous system to relieve pain. Dilaudid will be positively identified as an opiate if you undergo a drug test.

Compared to other opioids, hydromorphone is very potent. The dangers associated with Dilaudid addiction are real and potentially deadly. Many individuals addicted to opioids like Dilaudid begin with a legitimate prescription. As opioids help users deal with pain, it is not unusual for individuals to keep using the drug even after the prescription period. This can build tolerance for the medication, meaning they will need a higher dose to get the same level of pain relief. This increased tolerance for prescription drugs and chronic use can lead to addiction.

Is addiction one of the Dilaudid side effects long-term? While substance abuse can develop from legitimate hydromorphone prescriptions, it is possible to get addicted if the drug is used for recreational purposes. Some individuals abuse leftover Dilaudid in their home’s medicine cabinets or buy the drug from illicit sources. The problem with sourcing the drug outside of a pharmacy is that there is a risk that the drug is not really what you think you’re getting. Many opioids sold on the street are often laced with synthetic opioids like fentanyl. These potent synthetic drugs can quickly cause a drug overdose and even death when taken or abused. Find out more about “what does fentanyl look like?” and fentanyl addiction treatment.

Dilaudid is a very potent narcotic that can cause confusion and altered mental status, usually within 30 to 60 minutes of taking it.
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Hydromorphone /
Dilaudid Drug Facts

Dilaudid is a powerful narcotic, and it can be habit-forming if taken for a long period of time or in large doses. It is important to follow the guidance of your healthcare provider to ensure safe and effective use. Common side effects of dilaudid include drowsiness, constipation, dry mouth, and dizziness. If these side effects become severe or if other unusual symptoms occur, it is important to seek medical attention right away.


Brand name: Dilaudid


It can treat moderate to severe pain.

Dilaudid Is A Controlled substance

High risk for addiction and dependence. Can cause respiratory distress and death when taken in high doses or when combined with other substances, especially alcohol or other illicit drugs such as heroin or cocaine.

Learn more on drugfree.org

Hydromorphone / Dilaudid

Brands: Exalgo ER

Prescription needed

Pregnancy: Consult a doctor

Alcohol: Avoid. Very serious interactions can occur

Drug class: Opioid

Common Dilaudid Side Effects:

Euphoria, relaxation, sedation, and reduced anxiety. It may also cause mental clouding, changes in mood, nervousness, and restlessnessConstipation, nausea, vomiting, impaired coordination, loss of appetite, rash, slow or rapid heartbeat, and changes in blood pressure.

Dilaudid Interactions

Some products that may interact with Dilaudid. These include: certain pain medications (mixed opioid agonists/antagonists such as butorphanol, nalbuphine, pentazocine), cimetidine, drugs that slow down the movement of the gut (such as belladonna alkaloids, oxybutynin), naltrexone, samidorphan.

Hydromorphone / Dilaudid Warnings

Using too much hydromorphone may cause an overdose, which can be life-threatening. Symptoms of an overdose include: extreme dizziness or weakness, slow heartbeat or breathing, seizures, trouble breathing, and cold, clammy skin. . In case of an overdose, call your 911 right away.

Drugs that have similar effects include:

• Heroin, morphine, hydrocodone, fentanyl, and

How long does Dilaudid stay in your system?

Dilaudid is a fast-acting pain medication, and its effects typically last between 1 and 6 hours. The amount of time it takes for dilaudid to leave your system will depend on several factors, such as your body composition, other medications you may be taking, and how much of the drug was taken. It is important to speak with your healthcare provider to fully understand how long dilaudid may remain in your system.

How is Dilaudid abused?

Users abuse hydromorphone tablets by
taking more than the recommended dose and or using the drug without a prescription. Injectable solutions, as well as tablets, are crushed and dissolved in a solution and injected as a substitute for heroin.

Popular Dilaudid Street Names

Street names for Dilaudid usually highlight a particular aspect of the brand involved in terms of its effects, color, or form. People use street names to hide their drug activity from others.

  • “Dust-This” refers to Dilaudid tablets that have been crushed
  • “Juice-This” Dilaudid in solution form
  • Dillies
  • Hospital heroin
  • Smack
  • M2
  • Big D
  • Hydro
  • M-80

Why is this Medication Prescribed?

Like other opioid medications, Dilaudid is primarily used for pain relief. Opioids work by physically blocking the pain signals that reach the brain by decreasing pain intensity and improving the patient’s emotional response to it. Because the source of the pain can vary depending on each patient’s circumstances, Dilaudid may be prescribed to some people and not others.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that physicians use a three-step ladder for managing pain with opioids like Dilaudid. First, non-opioid, over-the-counter medications like aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen control the patient’s discomfort. If these drugs prove ineffective, mild opioids like codeine are prescribed. If this still does not do enough to relieve the patient’s pain, potent opioids like oxycodone and Dilaudid are prescribed.

Dilaudid Side Effects

As an opiate painkiller, the Dilaudid side effects will likely include drowsiness, nausea, euphoria, constipation, difficulty urinating, vomiting, and suppressed breathing ability. If an individual continues to abuse this drug, the a higher risk they will experience Dilaudid side effects such as addiction, guilt, depression, track marks up and down the arms and legs, intense cravings for the drug, and a dread of the withdrawal sickness that will result from not having the drug to abuse.

Dilaudid Side Effects
 Recovery from Dilaudid side effects and addiction is possible. So, how long does Dilaudid stay in your system? Continue reading to get all the facts about Dilaudid’s Side Effects.

Dilaudid is a strong painkiller of the opiate class. Each formulation of drugs in this class—oxycodone, oxymorphone, hydrocodone, methadone, fentanyl, and others—has slight differences from the others. Some are stronger, some will last longer, and others will take effect more quickly. Dilaudid is a strong painkiller that is often used after surgery. When an individual wants to abuse it, he (or she) will not get the desired high if he ingests or snorts it. Dilaudid only creates the desired euphoric effect if it is injected intravenously. This characteristic means many abusers inject the drug after crushing and dissolving the pills.

Most Common Dilaudid Side Effects Reported

  • Itching
  • Mood Changes
  • Low Blood Pressure
  • Dry Mouth
  • Constipation
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Excessive Sweating
  • Temporary Redness Of Face And Neck
  • Decreased Appetite
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Generalized Weakness
  • Feelings Of Dissatisfaction, Sadness, And Unease

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How Does Dilaudid Affect The Body?

Respiratory depression

  • Dilaudid affects the respiratory center in the brain through action on the opioid receptors.
  • This induces a slowing down of respirations, and the breathing pattern can become irregular.
  • This can result in reduced gas exchange with elevated carbon dioxide and oxygen levels in the body.
  • Overdose of Dilaudid can also cause respiratory arrest.

The feeling of high and addiction

  • In altering the perception of pain in the brain, Dilaudid promotes more dopamine in the brain.
  • Increased dopamine in the brain produces a high feeling by interacting with the brain’s reward circuit.
  • This feeling of high, experienced by the individuals on Dilaudid use, becomes highly desirable and thus adds to the potential for addiction to Dilaudid.
  • This makes Dilaudid one of the most commonly abused drugs.

Tolerance and addiction

  • Individuals taking Dilaudid at a recommended dose for a prolonged time develop tolerance to the drug and experience blunting the therapeutic response to Dilaudid at that dose.
  • Diminishing therapeutic response prompts an individual to increase the dose of medication intake to derive the desired effect.
  • This sets the cycle for addiction and abuse.

Withdrawal syndrome

  • Reducing your dosage gradually over time is the preferred way to quit Dilaudid.
  • Sudden Dilaudid withdrawal may induce unpleasant sensations, such as nausea, vomiting, intense muscle aches, sleep disturbances, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea.

How does Dilaudid Affect the Brain?

Hydromorphone, one of the main chemicals found in Dilaudid, is a full opioid agonist affecting the mu-opioid receptors. So what happens in the brain when you take Dilaudid?

When you take Dilaudid, the hydromorphone binds to mu receptors, creating analgesia. It also causes pain relief. Although the precise mechanism of the analgesic action is unknown, opioid receptors throughout the brain and spinal cord are thought to play a key role in the analgesic effects of Dilaudid.

Dilaudid is also known to cause respiratory depression, directly affecting the brain system’s respiratory centers. Respiratory depression is a state of reduced brain responsiveness to increases in blood gas tension and electrical stimulation. Finally, Dilaudid is known to cause excessive constriction of the eye pupil, even in total darkness. Pinpoint pupils are usually the first sign of an opioid overdose.

Why does Dilaudid Cause Itching?

Itching is a possible side effect of Dilaudid for certain users. Dilaudid itching can be severe in some cases, with users reporting severe itching all over their bodies. Those who experience it commonly ask, “Why does Dilaudid make you itch?” Unfortunately, the exact reasons are not clearly defined.

There may be treatment available to alleviate itching discomfort. For example, Phenergan is a commonly prescribed medication for itching. However, taking Dilaudid with Phenergan is not recommended since it can increase Dilaudid side effects like confusion, dizziness, and drowsiness. This combination can also cause several other adverse effects, with the potential for new Dilaudid side effects to develop over time. These include pneumonia, constipation, dependence, and hepatic necrosis.

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How Long Does Dilaudid Stay in your System?

The amount of time that Dilaudid stays in your system largely depends on how it was taken, how often it is taken, and how long it has been used. Generally speaking, the half-life of Dilaudid is between 2 to 4 hours when taken orally and 1 to 2 hours when injected. This means that if you take a single dose of 8 mg orally, then approximately 4 mg will remain in your system after 4 hours for an oral dose.

When ingested regularly over an extended period of time or at high doses, Dilaudid can build up in the body resulting in higher plasma levels than would be achieved with a single dose. In these cases, its elimination from the body may take anywhere from 12 to 36 hours.

It should also be noted that how long Dilaudid stays in the body can vary from person to person and is affected by individual metabolic rates. Because of this, it’s impossible to give an exact timeline for how long Dilaudid will remain in the system. Nevertheless, these general guidelines should help you have a better understanding of how long Dilaudid typically stays in your system.

Finally, if you’re concerned about how long Dilaudid might stay in your system and how it could affect a drug test, then it’s best to speak with your doctor. They can provide more specific information that’s tailored to you and can advise you on how long you should avoid taking Dilaudid before any drug testing.

Effects of Dilaudid Addiction

Dilaudid addiction typically starts from using the drug as directed. Sometimes from pain and other times simply for the feeling of euphoria, patients will increase their dose on their own. Over time, the patient needs more Dilaudid to feel the same effect as the opioid receptors in the body start desensitizing. This increases the potential abuse when a patient needs the drug during long-term treatment. 

Administering more Dilaudid than needed at once or continuing the use over a long period, mixed with any of the risk factors mentioned above, makes a perfect cocktail for addiction.

Common physical effects of Dilaudid addiction include:

  • Dizziness and lightheadedness
  • Itching
  • Sweating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Belly pain
  • Trouble urinating
  • Noticeable marks on hands, arms, legs, and feet from using needles
  • Slowed breathing

More serious adverse reactions of the addiction include:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Circulatory collapse
  • Seizures
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke

Dilaudid Side Effects and Overdose 

Dilaudid overdose isn’t always fatal. But people can die from an overdose, especially if it isn’t treated properly and urgently. In 2014 alone, more than 14,000 people died from prescription opioid overdoses. Even those who survive a Dilaudid overdose may be left with harmful after-effects.

Other complications of Dilaudid overdose include:

  • Permanent brain damage due to lack of oxygen to the brain.
  • Muscle damage from lying on a hard surface for a significant period
  • Pneumonia (often secondary to aspirated gastric contents)

The FDA cites the following as signs of a Dilaudid overdose:

  • Shallow, slow breaths or trouble breathing
  • Drowsiness
  • Possible loss of consciousness or falling into a coma
  • Lack of muscle tone or flaccid skeletal musculature
  • Cold or clammy skin
  • Constricted pupils
  • Low blood pressure
  • Weak pulse or slow heart rate

Anytime too much of the drug is introduced into the bloodstream at once, an overdose is possible. However, the method of taking Dilaudid can impact overdose. Snorting, smoking, or injecting it sends the full drug dosage very quickly across the barrier between a person’s blood and brain and can raise the risk of overdose. The FDA warns that injecting Dilaudid may increase the risk of suffering from an overdose by resulting in a collapse of the circulatory system, cardiac arrest, or apnea.

Effects & Symptoms of Withdrawal from Dilaudid

It is a rare person who can abuse an opioid as strong as Dilaudid and not get addicted. For most people, continued use will make it difficult to quit when they want to. Getting clean and sober means they have to get through the typical opiate withdrawal symptoms, which can indicate some days of pain, sickness, and misery.

Dilaudid withdrawal symptoms will include the following:

  • Muscle pain
  • Body cramps
  • Insomnia
  • Vomiting
  • Tremors, shaking, and restlessness
  • Severe cold sweats
  • Diarrhea
  • “Dysphoria”—is defined as a feeling of depression, anxiety, and unease

The usual list of effects of opiate withdrawal will also include a runny nose, goosebumps, and yawning. Still, these rather harmless symptoms minimize the severe sickness that typically occurs when a person tries to get off drugs “cold turkey.”

According to the National Institutes of Health, it can be possible to detect withdrawal symptoms after just a week of Dilaudid administration. Physical dependence is likely to be significant after several weeks of administration. Some drug users report that they go through withdrawal from Dilaudid use after just a few days or a week of use at home or in the hospital.

But what also happens is that a person in this situation gets sick with withdrawal symptoms but just thinks they came down with the flu after leaving the hospital. They recover and never realize they went through an opiate withdrawal after their medical care.

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Top Asked Dilaudid Questions

How long does Dilaudid stay in your system?

The terminal elimination half-life of hydromorphone (Dilaudid) after an intravenous dose is about 2.3 hours.

What are the side effects of Dilaudid?

Nausea, vomiting, constipation, lightheadedness, dizziness, drowsiness, sweating, flushing, or dry mouth may occur. Some of these side effects may decrease after using this medication. 

How long does Dilaudid work?

The analgesic action of Dilaudid is perceived within 15 and 30 minutes following its administration through injection and oral routes, respectively. The analgesic action usually lasts for more than 5 hours. [4]

What is Dilaudid history?

The generic form of Dilaudid is known as hydromorphone, and it was developed during the 1920s in Germany as an alternative to other pain medications at the time.

Dilaudid Side Effects and Addiction Treatment 

Dilaudid Detox

We need to be transparent about the topic of detox. It will not be an easy process. A person will likely experience many different Dilaudid side effects from their drug use. These Dilaudid side effects may be emotional, physical, or mental. During the detox process, someone in withdrawal will likely experience many uncomfortable feelings and negative thoughts about life. Unfortunately, for those with dependency, detox is an unavoidable first step to recovery

Please, do not try to detox on your own. The Dilaudid detox process can be painful and difficult without medical assistance. Getting through the detox process is crucial for continued treatment.

Dilaudid Detox Medications


Using it with Naloxone can lower the risk of someone developing a dependence. This happens as Buprenorphine alleviates the pain and discomfort caused by withdrawal. Naloxone blocks the euphoria that Opioids can bring if the patient relapses.


Methadone is one of the most common treatment medications for people suffering from opioid withdrawal.


Naltrexone functions in the body as an Opioid-agonist. If you used it while Dilaudid was still in their system, you could experience severe withdrawal symptoms. Naltrexone is only prescribed after the individual has been off Opioids for at least 7 to 10 days.


Clonidine is a non-opioid used to relieve anxiety, agitation, cramping, and tension. It also helps regulate blood pressure and pulse while reducing cravings.

Another detox method some doctors provide involves a rapid anesthesia process. The addicted person is first given medication to relax. Then a doctor puts them under general anesthesia and injects the patient with a drug that blocks the effects of Dilaudid. The providers of this method claim it speeds up the withdrawal process, and there are fewer withdrawal symptoms after.

Many rehabilitation programs keep up with the scientific understanding of co-occurring disorders and offer dual-diagnosis treatment for mood disorders alongside therapy for addiction. Treatment plans vary for each individual. For occasional substance misuse, occasional counseling may be enough to help a person recover. Time at a rehabilitation facility may be the best option for more serious cases. The only way to truly determine the right treatment plan for each person is to see a qualified treatment professional.

If someone is struggling with Dilaudid Addiction because of its intense and often dangerous Dilaudid side effects, that person needs to consider inpatient Dilaudid detox. We Level Up NJ addiction specialists are standing by to help.

Dilaudid side effects
Rehab will help you overcome Dilaudid side effects and withdrawal symptoms and develop healthy strategies for avoiding relapse.

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Dilaudid Side Effects Video

Discover the origins of Dilaudid, a powerful opioid analgesic derived from morphine. Known by its brand name, Dilaudid, this drug is a double-edged sword—offering relief from severe pain but posing a risk of abuse and dependency.

Learn about the intricate web of Dilaudid addiction. Explore the National Institutes of Health’s insights into how repeated use alters the brain’s structure, leading to dependence that permeates every aspect of life. Discover the thin line between therapeutic use and abuse.
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