Dilaudid (Hydromorphone) Side Effects, Interactions, & Warnings

Dilaudid is an opioid drug that may cause side effects such as sedation or drowsiness. Additionally, adverse drug interactions can increase the potential for health issues when you combine Dilaudid with certain medications.

Dilaudid (the brand name for hydromorphone) is an opioid analgesic pain medication used to treat those experiencing severe pain. 

The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) states this prescription drug is a Schedule II controlled substance, meaning it has high habit-forming potential and may lead to psychological or physical dependence.

Side Effects Of Dilaudid

Prescribed for pain relief, Dilaudid is available in immediate-release or extended-release tablets. Dilaudid is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant that may create various side effects.

Common Side Effects

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states some of the common side effects of Dilaudid may include:

  • dizziness
  • loss of appetite
  • headache
  • dry mouth
  • sedation
  • euphoric sensation
  • constipation
  • drowsiness
  • lightheadedness
  • reduced anxiety

Withdrawal Symptoms

One of the more serious side effects of Dilaudid is the development of withdrawal symptoms. If a person abruptly stops the drug “cold turkey,” they may experience extreme opioid withdrawal.

Dilaudid withdrawal symptoms may consist of:

  • chills
  • irritability
  • runny nose
  • sweating
  • joint pain
  • restlessness
  • stomach pain
  • changes in mood
  • weakness
  • anxiety

Drug Interactions

Various drug interactions can take place when certain medications are combined with Dilaudid.

Some of the substances and drugs to avoid while taking Dilaudid include:

  • alcohol
  • benzodiazepines such as lorazepam (Ativan) and clonazepam (Klonopin)
  • muscle relaxants
  • supplements and certain vitamins
  • over-the-counter pain relievers
  • other opioid medications such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, or buprenorphine
  • stimulants
  • antihistamines
  • butorphanol
  • pentazocine

Serotonin Syndrome

Special care must also be taken with certain antidepressants. 

Those who combine Dilaudid with antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) may suffer from a condition known as serotonin syndrome.

This condition occurs when the body releases too much serotonin. Symptoms of this life-threatening condition can include hallucinations, diarrhea, and an increase in body temperature.

Dilaudid Warnings

Before taking Dilaudid, consult the medical advice of your healthcare provider. You will want to know all the drug information because those with certain health conditions may need to avoid hydromorphone.

Breathing Problems

Those who have been diagnosed with certain conditions that cause trouble breathing, including sleep apnea or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), may need to avoid Dilaudid due to how the drug can create slowed breathing and respiratory distress.

Certain Health Conditions

Dilaudid should not be taken if you are suffering from gallbladder, pancreas, thyroid, or kidney disease. In addition to this, some may suffer paralytic ileus, a condition in which a blockage in the intestines occurs.

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid Dilaudid. The drug can pass from mother to child through breast milk, which may create health problems for the baby.

Those who have suffered a head injury in the past should consult their physician. Additionally, those who suffer from Addison’s disease, a condition in which the adrenal gland produces less hormones, should avoid Dilaudid.

Allergic Reactions

Those with certain allergies may need to avoid this prescription opioid. Those with an allergy to sulfite should find an alternative to Dilaudid.

Once prescribed, if you develop hives or another allergic reaction such as swelling, seek medical care immediately.

Dilaudid Overdose

Those who take a high dose of hydromorphone or abuse the drug by snorting, plugging, smoking, or injecting Dilaudid may experience an overdose. Symptoms of opioid overdose may include:

  • constricted pupils
  • low blood pressure
  • slowed heart rate
  • tiredness
  • shallow breathing
  • muscle weakness
  • clammy skin
  • respiratory depression
  • coma

If a Dilaudid overdose is suspected, contact 911 immediately. Once you arrive at the hospital, a healthcare professional may administer naloxone (Narcan) to help reverse the effects of opioid overdose.

Opioid Use Disorder

Prolonged use of hydromorphone can increase the risk of opioid use disorder (OUD) or addiction. OUD is defined by compulsive drug use despite harmful consequences in your life. 

Opioid addiction is a serious mental health condition, and signs may include intense cravings, prioritizing opioid use over everything else, and experiencing withdrawal symptoms if you stop use.

For information on our opioid addiction treatment options and substance abuse disorder treatment options, please contact Ohio Recovery Center today.

  1. Drug Enforcement Administration — Hydromorphone https://www.dea.gov/sites/default/files/2020-06/Hyrdromorphone-2020_1.pdf
  2. Food and Drug Administration — Dilaudid https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2011/019034s021lbl.pdf
  3. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Hydromorphone https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682013.html
  4. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Hydromorphone Overdose https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002633.htm
  5. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Serotonin Syndrome https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007272.htm

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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