|Active ingredient||Hydromorphone, aka Dihydromorphinone|
|Drug Class||Opiate (Narcotic) Analgesics|
|Kicks In||15-30 min, with peak at 30-60 min|
|Treatment Period||Works by changing the manner of response the brain
and nervous system provide to pain
|Lasts Long||Effects last for around 3 hours|
Dilaudid is a prescription medicine for pain. The major compound present, hydromorphone, also known as dihydromorphinone, is used to treat moderate to severe symptoms of pain. It may be used in combination with other drugs or alone, as per the requirements. Dihydromorphinone is an opioid and it can prove to be addictive. Long-term use of this drug is recommended only for those who have pain as a result of cancer.
Classified as an opioid agonist, hydromorphone is recommended only for soothing an intensity of pain that requires an opioid analgesic and has no alternative treatment methods. It acts on specific parts of the brain to alter the manner of your body’s response to pain.
However, it is advised not to take Dilaudid with or after alcohol or marijuana. It is also advised that this medicine should not be taken by pregnant or breastfeeding women since it can harm the fetus or the infant in any case. The later is because hydromorphone can pass into breast milk and through to the child, which is dangerous.
Dilaudid is a narcotic analgesic that is used to relieve moderate to severe chronic pain. It does so by acting on the central nervous system in opioid-tolerant patients. Being a habit-forming drug, it is only recommended for pain that is severe enough to require around-the-clock pain relief and for long durations. For the same reason, it is not to be used if medication is needed only for a short period of time, such as after surgery. Nor is it suggested for mild pain, or for treatment in an “as needed manner”.
It is advised that Dilaudid be administered only to patients in need of medication for the treatment of moderate to severe symptoms of pain. This is because the drug is a narcotic pain reliever and tends to be addictive. Since Dilaudid is habit forming, it should be taken only as the doctor suggests and only for as long as they do.
Dilaudid can be administered in several different manners, including:
- As an oral liquid,
- As a tablet, or
- As an injection.
However, the liquid form can have some sugar and, as a consequence, it is not advised for diabetics to go for that form of medication. That is unless your doctor says so.
It is also suggested that pregnant women avoid this medication until birth and breastfeeding ends. Nor should it be used during childbirth for pain.
Dosage and Effects of Dilaudid
Being a prescription medicine, Dilaudid (hydromorphone) is advised to be taken in only the dose and duration as your doctor advises. Taking more of it, taking it more often, and taking it for a longer duration than ordered for by your doctor can prove to be lethal. This is critical for elderly patients, since they are usually more sensitive to how pain medicines affect the body. Too much of any opioid analgesics also tend to be addictive (mentally and physically habit-forming). An overdose may even lead to death.
Depending on the drug form, the course of action varies. In case of extended-release capsules and tablets, the drug is absorbed from the alimentary canal, mostly from the gastrointestinal tract, with maximum plasma concentration that occurs within an hour after administration. Therefore, its effectiveness can be observed in due time.
For the same, a precise dose is decided upon by the physician, considering using non-opioid analgesics before Dilaudid and opioids on only an “as needed” basis. In case of children, only light doses decided by the doctor are prescribed since they are even more sensitive to the negative effects of opioids.
The effects of of this medicine can be gravely for a fetus or an infant and so pregnant and breastfeeding women are advised against the same.
In the circumstance of missing a dose of Dilaudid, it is advised to skip that dose and to get back to the regular prescribed dosing schedule.
Being an opioid analgesic, it needs to be taken with caution because of its addictiveness. On the other hand, some commonly occurring side effects of Dilaudid administration include drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, stomach ache, and constipation. These usually subside with regular, organised administration. Drink enough water, exercise and eat dietary fibres to avoid constipation. You may even need to take laxatives for treating it.
However, dihydromorphinone can also cause more severe effects, which include:
- Shallow breathing,
- Noisy breathing,
- Breathing that stops while you’re sleep,
- Weak pulse,
- Slow heart rate,
- Unusual thoughts or behavior,
- Unusual, extreme sadness or happiness,
- Seizure (convulsions),
- Loss of coordination,
- Fever and sweating,
- Problems with urination
In the case of appearance of any of these symptoms in a quite serious manner, take that as a sign for you to rush to your doctor. Get proper medical care to avoid any fatalities.
Dilaudid being an opioid drug, the users are prone to getting addicted to it. To decrease the chances of this happening, it is advised that the prescription schedule be stringently followed.
It’s important that you discuss with your doctor about your previous medication. While Dilaudid isn’t much affected by other drugs, some of them might still affect how it functions in your body. Talk to the doctor about any side effects that might be bothering you. There’s a good chance that all the side effects aren’t a result of your dose.
In the elderly, Dilaudid has also been known to cause confusion and over-sedation. To avoid most of that, dose selection for any elderly patient has to be cautious, starting at the lower end range, and changing only according to necessity. All of which must be considered by your doctor.
Dilaudid also gets secreted into the breast milk and, therefore, can affect the infant. It also adds to the effects of alcohol and various other CNS depressants. CNS depressants are those medicines that tend to make you drowsy. These medicines such as antihistamines, narcotics, barbiturates, anaesthetics, etc, slow the nervous system down, which then cause drowsiness or make you feel less alert. The resulting effects may last for some days after your dose ends. Ask your doctor if it’s okay to follow through with one of these drugs if you’re on another.
Proper storage of Dilaudid tablets or capsules is recommended to keep it effective for a long duration. Leaving the package uncared for also determines how the medicine affects you and might thus alter the results. For smart and safe keeping of the drugs, follow these steps:
- Store at a controlled room temperature, between 15° to 30°C, and away from moisture and light.
- Keep the tablets in a safe place, and preferably in their original packaging. Keep out of reach of children, since it can create serious health issues for them.
- While handling the tablets/capsules, wash your hands dry before touching.
- The tablets usually come in blister packs which aren’t child-resistant. Use child-resistant closure as per the requirement.
- All opioids are liable to abuse because of their addictive properties and are severely misused by both the general public and healthcare workers. Therefore, they should be handled in accordance with that. Keep it in a safe place to avoid abuse and misuse by adults.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is Dilaudid used for?
Dilaudid is used for the treatment of moderate to severe symptoms of pain. However, it is not prescribed for short-term or normally occurring and discontinuous pain. It is best known for being used during the treatment of cancer, and in several other cases.
How long does Dilaudid take to work?
Hydromorphone from the Dilaudid extended-release capsules/tablets is absorbed from the alimentary canal, mostly from the gastrointestinal tract, with maximum plasma concentration that occurs within 60 minutes after administration. Therefore, its effectiveness can be observed in around an hour.
Is it okay to take Dilaudid tablets daily?
Dilaudid doses are decided by your doctor and are only prescribed in case of chronic, continuous and unbearable moderate to severe pain. Take them as your doctor recommends. Making any uncertain changes can affect how well the drug works in your body.
Why does Dilaudid need careful consideration?
Being an opioid analgesic, the users of Dilaudid (hydromorphone) are prone to getting addicted to the drug. Therefore, it is advised that only the prescribed dose as suggested by the physician should be administered. Any ill-regulated dose can prove to be fatal.