Dilaudid (Hydromorphone) Dosage | Proper Use Vs. Abuse

Dilaudid is available in oral tablets, oral solutions, and intravenous solutions. Taking Dilaudid without a prescription, or without following your doctor’s instructions, is a form of drug abuse.

Legal forms of Dilaudid can take the form of oral tablets, liquid solution for oral use, and liquid solution for intravenous use. 

Oral formulations for Dilaudid may contain between 2 mg to 8 mg of hydromorphone. Intravenous Dilaudid may contain between 1 mg/mL to 10 mg/mL of hydromorphone.

Dilaudid is a brand-name opioid analgesic with a main active ingredient of hydromorphone hydrochloride (HCL). Like other opioid drugs, Dilaudid can be used in moderate to severe pain and chronic pain management.

Dilaudid is a Schedule II controlled substance with a high abuse potential, similar to other opioids such as oxycodone and fentanyl. Taking Dilaudid in a dose or manner that your doctor is not prescribing cis a form of opioid agonist abuse with significant health risks.

Dilaudid Formulations & Dosage

Both generic and brand name formulations of Dilaudid may be prescribed as oral tablets, oral solutions, or intravenous solutions

Immediate-release formulations are the most common form of Dilaudid. Extended-release formulations of hydromorphone may be available in other brand name products such as Exalgo.

Clinicians may prescribe a low starting dose of hydromorphone to reduce your risk of serious side effects. If your analgesia does not improve, your doctor may recommend a formulation that contains a higher dose.

The dose of hydromorphone that works for you may depend on your medical history. Patients with preexisting health conditions, such as hepatic impairment, a history of drug abuse, as well as pediatric patients, should talk to their doctor before taking opioid drugs.

Oral Tablets

As an oral immediate-release tablet, Dilaudid is available in the following dosage forms:

  • 2 mg hydromorphone hydrochloride
  • 4 mg hydromorphone hydrochloride
  • 8 mg hydromorphone hydrochloride

You may take a dose of hydromorphone once every 4 to 6 hours, or as directed by your doctor. Opioid-tolerant patients taking Dilaudid in place of other opioids may take a dose of Dilaudid once per day, or as directed by their doctor.

Oral Solutions

As an oral liquid solution, Dilaudid is available in 5 mg doses, taken every 3 to 6 hours or as directed by your doctor. Your doctor may adjust your dose if you show adverse reactions or your pain relief is not working as intended.

Intravenous Solutions

As an intravenous solution, Dilaudid is available in the following dosage forms:

  • 1 mg/mL hydromorphone hydrochloride
  • 2 mg/mL hydromorphone hydrochloride
  • 4 mg/mL hydromorphone hydrochloride
  • 10 mg/mL hydromorphone hydrochloride

Forms Of Proper Dilaudid Use

Proper Dilaudid use involves taking the doses of Dilaudid required by your doctor.

If you experience frequent side effects of hydromorphone, your doctor may adjust your dose of Dilaudid as needed, which may include a gradual titration to a lower dose. 

Hydromorphone side effects may include:

  • constipation
  • dry mouth
  • sedation
  • drowsiness
  • dizziness
  • lightheadedness
  • low blood pressure

Forms Of Dilaudid Abuse

Forms of Dilaudid abuse may include:

Dilaudid abuse may occur to get high on Dilaudid or to avoid opioid withdrawal syndrome.

Risks Of Dilaudid Abuse

Abusing Dilaudid can cause serious and even life-threatening side effects such as:

  • increased risk of head injury
  • increased intracranial pressure
  • increased risk of dangerous drug interactions with benzodiazepines, muscle relaxants, and other CNS depressants
  • respiratory depression (trouble breathing)
  • serotonin syndrome
  • opioid overdose
  • neonatal withdrawal syndrome from breastfeeding mothers

Taking Dilaudid doses as directed, including storing Dilaudid at room temperature and maintaining a regular dose schedule, can reduce your risk of serious adverse effects. 

Treating Dilaudid Abuse & Addiction 

If you’re suffering from Dilaudid withdrawal symptoms after long-term hydromorphone use, you may benefit from an addiction treatment program.

Our inpatient opioid addiction treatment options include behavioral health services and medication-assisted treatment with methadone or buprenorphine. 

Our treatment programs can assist patients struggling with hydromorphone, oxymorphone, hydrocodone, fentanyl, and other forms of opioid use disorder. To learn more, please contact Ohio Recovery Center today.

  1. Drug Enforcement Administration — Drug Fact Sheet: Hydromorphone https://www.dea.gov/sites/default/files/2020-06/Hyrdromorphone-2020_1.pdf
  2. Food and Drug Administration — DILAUDID® ORAL LIQUID and DILAUDID® TABLETS (hydromorphone hydrochloride) CS-II https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2007/019892s015lbl.pdf
  3. Food and Drug Administration — DILAUDID® and DILAUDID-HP® INJECTION 1 mg/mL, 2 mg/mL, 4mg/mL, and 10 mg/mL (hydromorphone hydrochloride) C-II https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2009/019034s018lbl.pdf
  4. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Hydromorphone https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682013.html
  5. U.S. Department of Justice — HYDROMORPHONE (Trade name: Dilaudid®; Street Names: Dust, Juice, Smack, D, Footballs) https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_chem_info/hydromorphone.pdf

Written by Ohio Recovery Center Editorial Team

Published on: March 3, 2023

© 2024 Ohio Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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