Dilaudid Side Effects – Common & Long Term, Overdose, Withdrawal Symptoms & Addiction Treatment
Dilaudid Side Effects
Dilaudid is commonly abused for its sedating, relaxing, and euphoric effects. The euphoric high of Dilaudid effects is similar to that of heroin effects and other opiates. Abuse of the drug can be dangerous and potentially fatal. Drug overdose and death can occur when Dilaudid is taken in high doses or when combined with other central nervous system depressants.
What is Dilaudid
Dilaudid (hydromorphone) is a prescription opioid prescribed for the relief of pain. It may be prescribed as a liquid, tablet, rectal suppository, or injectable solution. Dilaudid may also be used to treat certain types of coughs. This drug is made from morphine and binds to opioid receptors in the central nervous system. Consequently, it is a type of opioid and a type of analgesic agent. Other names of the drug are Exalgo, hydromorphone hydrochloride, and Hydrostat IR.
Slang for Dilaudid or Hydromorphone
The following terms are street names or slang for Dilaudid or hydromorphone:
Is Dilaudid an Opioid?
Dilaudid (hydromorphone) belongs to opioid medication. An opioid is sometimes called a narcotic—a drug used to treat moderate to severe pain. You may find yourself taking more than the prescription dose or taking the medication more often than prescribed. Dilaudid is one of the more powerful Synthetic Narcotics in the Opioid class of drugs. Thus, Dilaudid addiction can rapidly develop through continued use. This signifies you may be developing a dependency on the drug. As a result, you may need to taper off the drug gradually. If you suddenly stop taking it, you could experience Dilaudid withdrawal symptoms. Speak to a treatment expert about the Dilaudid detox process to help you be relieved during the process.
How long do the effects of Dilaudid last? Immediate-release oral formulations have an onset of action at 15 to 30 minutes, peak at 30 to 60 minutes, and last 3 to 4 hours. Half-life is 2 to 3 hours. Extended-release formulations have an onset of action at 6 hours, peak at 9 hours, and last 13 hours.
Dilaudid Side Effects
Hydromorphone may be habit-forming, especially with prolonged use. Take hydromorphone exactly as directed. Do not take more of it, take it more often, or take it in a different way than directed by your doctor.
While you are taking hydromorphone, discuss with your health care provider your pain treatment goals, length of treatment, and other ways to manage your pain.
Tell your doctor if you or anyone in your family drinks or has ever drunk large amounts of alcohol, uses or has ever used street drugs, or has overused prescription medications, or has had an overdose, or if you have or have ever had depression or another mental illness.
Common Side Effects of Dilaudid
Dilaudid may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- Dry mouth
- Heavy sweating
- Muscle, back or joint pain
- Stomach pain
Some Dilaudid side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:
- Swelling of the eyes, face, lips, tongue, mouth, throat, arms, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing
- Agitation, hallucinations (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist), fever, sweating, confusion, fast heartbeat, shivering, severe muscle stiffness or twitching, loss of coordination, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, weakness, or dizziness
- Inability to get or keep an erection
- Irregular menstruation
- Decreased sexual desire
- Chest pain
- Extreme drowsiness
- Lightheadedness when changing positions
Hydromorphone may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while you are taking this medication.
How Does Dilaudid Affect the Body?
If you have ongoing pain (such as due to cancer), your doctor may direct you to also take long-acting opioid medications such as Dilaudid. In that case, this medication might be used for sudden (breakthrough) pain only as needed. Other pain relievers (such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen) may also be prescribed. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about using Dilaudid safely with other drugs.
Suddenly stopping this medication may cause Dilaudid side effects and withdrawal, especially if you have used it for a long time or in high doses. To prevent withdrawal, your doctor may lower your dose slowly.
Tell your doctor or pharmacist right away if you have any withdrawal symptoms such as restlessness, mental/mood changes (including anxiety, trouble sleeping, thoughts of suicide), watering eyes, runny nose, nausea, diarrhea, sweating, muscle aches, or sudden changes in behavior.
How Does Dilaudid Affect the Brain?
Dilaudid drug attaches to receptors in the brain and central nervous system (CNS) to dull pain. Dilaudid also triggers the release of excessive amounts of dopamine in the brain, causing pleasurable feelings. Many people using this medication do not have serious Dilaudid side effects. Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: mental/mood changes (such as agitation, confusion, hallucinations), severe stomach/abdominal pain, difficulty urinating.
Why Does Dilaudid Cause Itching?
Troublesome opioid or Dilaudid side effects may sometimes limit both patient and physician acceptance of these invaluable drugs. The most common side effects of oral opioids during repeated dosing for cancer pain seem to be dry mouth, sedation, and constipation. Opioids can also induce itching at the spinal level as the neurons of the dorsal horn of the pain system inhibit spinal itch neurons.
What are the Long Term Side Effects of Dilaudid?
Hydromorphone or Dilaudid side effects, similar to other schedules II opioids, has a high abuse and dependence potential and produces tolerance. Prior to the current popularity of hydrocodone and oxycodone among drug abusers, low dose (2 and 4 mg) immediate-release hydromorphone formulations (i.e., Dilaudid®) were the leading opioid products for abuse and diversion. 
Euphoria is a short-term effect that people typically start experiencing shortly after taking their first dose of Dilaudid. It is the reason why people abuse it. But it is not the only short-term effect they may encounter.
Even when people only take Dilaudid for a short period, they may experience any or all of the following:
- Feeling Irritable
- Problems with Sleeping
- Frequent Dizzy Spells
- Fever and Chills
- Symptoms of Depression
- Suicidal Thoughts
These symptoms may not take long to manifest. They may become noticeable in as little as two to three weeks of continued Dilaudid abuse.
The long-term Dilaudid side effects are just as troubling. As time goes on, people may start to experience:
- High Blood Pressure
- Frequent and Vivid Hallucinations
- Paranoid Thoughts or Behaviors
- The Sudden Onset of Seizures
- Problems with Breathing
- Respiratory Arrest
Most people find that after long-term use, they are addicted to Dilaudid. Once that addiction is formed, it can be tough to stop using without professional help. Detox and rehab are both highly recommended.
Effects of Dilaudid Addiction
Dilaudid abuse is taking the drug in any way not prescribed by a doctor. This includes taking Dilaudid in higher doses than prescribed or taking it without a prescription. Hydromorphone is much stronger than many other opioid medications that are available to treat pain. Because it is stronger, it carries a higher risk of addiction. It can help to know how opioid painkillers work in order to understand how people can get addicted to them.
A prescription for Dilaudid comes with a long list of warnings. Among them is an indication that the drug can be habit-forming, particularly with prolonged use. It may not take very long at all for you to become addicted to this medication. But it all begins by abusing it. Once a person starts misusing or abusing Dilaudid, they feel a sensation of euphoria. This feeling occurs because of excess amounts of dopamine, which are being discharged into the brain.
However, as more abuse occurs over time, the brain loses the ability to produce this chemical independently. At that point, the individual is addicted and must proceed using the drug to feel normal.
Hydromorphone, sold under the brand name Dilaudid, comes with a black box warning on its label. Unfortunately, this means research has found the drug may have severe and even fatal Dilaudid side effects. One of the main concerns with hydromorphone is respiratory depression, which means a person isn’t getting enough oxygen into their system.
Dilaudid side effects may also cause a drop in blood pressure. Therefore, it should be used correctly, if at all, in individuals who already have low blood pressure or who take medications to lower their blood pressure.
Symptoms of Overdose  may include the following:
- Slow or Shallow Breathing
- Difficulty Breathing
- Unable to Respond or Wake Up
- Muscle Weakness
- Cold, Clammy Skin
- Narrowing or Widening of the Pupils (dark circles in the middle of the eyes)
- Slowed or Stopped Heartbeat
Dilaudid (Hydromorphone) is a schedule II controlled substance prescribed for moderate to severe pain. The drug attaches to receptors in the brain and central nervous system (CNS) to dull pain. Dilaudid side effects also trigger the release of excessive amounts of dopamine in the brain, causing pleasurable feelings. This activates the reward center of the brain, which interprets the event as something that is important and should be repeated. The more this happens, the less the brain will naturally produce dopamine, and the more reliant the body becomes on Dilaudid.
Doctors prescribe Dilaudid for pain related to cancer and serious injuries such as burns. The time it takes for the drug to take effect varies depending on how it is taken. When taken orally, Dilaudid typically takes effect within 30 minutes to an hour. When used intranasally, it typically takes 5 minutes; its effects are almost immediate when taken intravenously. Regardless of the method of administration, the effects of Dilaudid typically last between four and six hours.
Doctors typically prescribe Dilaudid tablets in small doses. Some pills are round, and some are triangular in shape. Dilaudid is also available as an oral liquid. In a hospital setting, doctors may administer the substance intravenously.
Effects & Symptoms of Withdrawal from Dilaudid
Discontinuing the use of a drug like Dilaudid will lead to withdrawal symptoms. Some of the more typical opioid withdrawal symptoms include:
- Having Intense Cravings
- Body Cramps
- Cold Sweats
- Problems with Sleep
- Physical Pain
Dilaudid Addiction Treatment
In the case of Dilaudid side effects and addiction, the client may be tapered off the drug slowly. Then, they may be advised for medical detox, which allows them to take medications to help with their symptoms. Some medications are approved for this purpose, including Suboxone, Vivitrol, and Methadone.
While drug detox approaches physical addiction, drug rehab is intended to address mind dependency on the drug. For example, while in rehab for hydromorphone addiction, clients will work with therapists, licensed counselors, and peers in recovery to uncover the root causes of their addiction. They will also spend time addressing the harmful behaviors that contributed to their Dilaudid addiction, developing healthier behaviors and attitudes about substance abuse and life in general. 
Inpatient Drug Rehab Plays a Crucial Role in the Recovery Process, as it provides clients with time to:
- Learn about the Disorder of Addiction
- Adopt Relevant Life Skills
- Spend time away from environmental triggers, drugs, and alcohol
- Work through each step of the 12-Step Program
- Relapse Prevention Program
These things will support clients to overcome Dilaudid side effects for good and learn how to live life sober with ongoing peer support. Addiction recovery is an ongoing process that will last for the remainder of a person’s life because it’s not something that can be won in a matter of weeks or months. Given that, continued care and Dilaudid treatment are necessary to long-term and lasting recovery.
Most importantly, clients in treatment may choose to continue their care with different services, such as sober living or aftercare. These addiction levels of care are meant to support individuals in recovery who have already completed Dilaudid detox and drug rehab.
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