The opioid analgesics reserved for use in patients with moderate-to-severe pain are also subject to abuse and misuse. According to CDC’s National Vital Statistics System, around 115 Americans die from opioid overdose daily. But, opioids seem to be the only choice when all other analgesics have failed. Let’s find out about a specific opioid drug, Dilaudid.
What is Dilaudid?
Dilaudid is the brand name of hydromorphone, which is a painkiller. Hydromorphone – also known as dihydromorphinone – is created from morphine. Medically, Dilaudid is termed as an opioid analgesic, whereas legally, it is known as narcotic. The drug was first introduced in 1926 by Knoll – the pharmaceutical division of a German chemical company.
It was then marked under the brand name Dilaudid. The brand name became widely popular because of which Dilaudid is sometimes also used as a generic name for any form of hydromorphone. The chemical name of Dilaudid – although it may not be of your interest – is 4,5α-epoxy-3- hydroxy-17-methylmorphinan-6-one hydrochloride. Well, that is a pretty long name.
Hydromorphone: The Main Ingredient
The main ingredient in Dilaudid is hydromorphone hydrochloride. One teaspoon of Dilaudid oral solution contains 5 mg of hydromorphone HCl. Other ingredients include:
- Purified water
What is Dilaudid Used For?
Dilaudid is an opioid analgesic. It is used to treat severe pain to which other painkillers don’t respond. This is not an analgesic for a one-time treatment; it is mostly used when people need a daily analgesic dose to keep their pain under control.
Dilaudid tablets or injection are not the first choices when treating patients with opioid analgesics. These are indicated for opioid-tolerant patients, which means individuals who have already been on some opioid analgesic and their pain is severe enough to prescribe a higher dose of opioids. Opioid-tolerant patients are those who have been:
- taking at least 60 mg oral morphine daily for one week or longer
- taking at least 25 mg oral oxymorphone per day for one week or longer
- taking at least 30 mg oral oxycodone per day for one week or longer
- taking at least 8 mg oral hydromorphone per day for one week or longer
- taking at least 60 mg oral hydrocodone per day for one week or longer
Dilaudid may also be used with other analgesics to produce better results.
Comparison With Other Opioids
All opioids are likely to cause opioid addiction and are subject to misuse. Many of their drug interactions and side effects are same. However, a few differences exist.
Dilaudid vs Morphine
When morphine changes into hydromorphone, it’s activity increases. Dilaudid is, therefore, eight times more potent than morphine. Although there are many similarities between morphine and Dilaudid, some differences in dosage, form, and side effects are there. The table below describes these differences in detail.
Dilaudid vs Oxycodone
Dilaudid vs Percocet
The Recommended Dosage For Dilaudid
The bioavailability of hydromorphone is low when taken through oral, rectal or nasal routes. Therefore, it is mostly administered intravenously. Intramuscular and subcutaneous injections are also available. But usually, the regime starts with oral dose for about a week, which is followed by Dilaudid injections.
The oral solution is available as 473mL, whereas, oral tablets are available in the following strengths:
Your doctor will always start with the lowest effective dose (2-4 mg every 4-6 hours, as required). Since managing a new dose every 4 hours is often troublesome at night, rectal suppositories are often used; the dose for these is 1 suppository (3mg) every 6-8 hours.
Injections are usually needed every 2-3 hours in 1-2 mg dose. While these are average doses, there is no standard dose. It varies based on several factors, such as:
- severity of pain
- prior experience with analgesics
- patient response
- medical history of the patient
- use of other medicines
- chances of addiction, abuse, or misuse in a particular patient
Based on these factors, the doctor selects an individual dose for each patient. This dose is gradually increased to reach a point where greater pain relief with minimum side effects is possible.
The Dilaudid Side Effects
It is possible to take a recommended dose of hydromorphone and still experience the side effects. Dizziness and drowsiness are the most common side effects.
Common Side Effects
- Individuals taking Dilaudid are more likely to experience the following negative outcomes:
- stomach ache
- xerostomia (dry mouth)
- reddening of the skin skin
- euphoria (intense feelings of happiness)
- breathing difficulty
Serious Side Effects
The common side effects usually settle down within a week. However, if you experience these effects for a prolonged duration, or if you experience more serious problems, inform your doctor. Serious side effects can include the following:
- rapid heartbeat/slow heartbeat
- chest pain
- blurred vision
- double vision
- constricted pupils (pinpoint pupil)
- inability to pass stool
- prickling sensation on the skin
- hallucinations (seeing things or hearing voices that are not actually there)
- involuntary eye movement
- weird dreams
- sleeping issues
- high blood pressure
Note that everybody has a different experience with the side effects of drugs. There is a wide range of issues an individual might experience while taking Dilaudid. We do not guarantee that this section covers a range of all possible side effects. Consult your doctor for a better understanding of possible side effects.
Respiratory Depression is The Major Side Effect
The most life-threatening side effect of Dilaudid is respiratory depression. Slow or improper breathing – another side effect of Dilaudid – is the primary cause of respiratory depression. If left untreated, it can even result in respiratory arrest leading to death. If you have difficulty breathing, inform your doctor. He may change your medicine, or introduce oxygen support to prevent complications.
Dilaudid Can Lead To Hormone Imbalance
Hypogonadism (low levels of sex hormone) is a dose-dependent side effect of opioid usage. Since Dilaudid is an opioid analgesic, it is likely to cause hormonal imbalance – the most common being hypogonadism and issues with menstruation in woman secondary to low levels of luteinizing hormone (LH). The balance is usually restored when opioids are discontinued.
What Are the Effects of Mixing Dilaudid and Alcohol
Healthcare providers usually inquire about contraindications before prescribing Dilaudid. However, many patients do not explicitly come forth with socially undesirable information, such as the excess use of alcohol. Mixing Dilaudid with alcohol can be dangerous. It can lead to respiratory depression (slow breathing). If left untreated, this can even lead to death.
Buying Dilaudid Online
Dilaudid is a schedule II controlled substance in the United States. Schedule II drugs have a potential for abuse and are, therefore, prescription drugs. Many online pharmacies may offer you Dilaudid without prescription, but those are nothing more than false promises. Any e-pharmacy claiming so will most likely ship another substance (usually some herbal products) to your address, or you will be told to buy an alternative to this drug.
The best way to buy Dilaudid is from a local pharmacy where you will be asked to produce a prescription form.
Dilaudid Addiction And Abuse
Potential abuse is the reason why opioid analgesics are controlled substances. As with any other opioid, Dilaudid also produces euphoria; this tempts the user to take more than the prescribed dose. As time passes, the user becomes tolerable to a specific dose which often leads to drug abuse.
If you are taking Dilaudid, do not share your medicine with anyone, even if the other person has severe pain.
Dilaudid Withdrawal Effects
An abrupt discontinuation of hydromorphone can result in symptoms known as opioid withdrawal effects. Following are the withdrawal symptoms of hydromorphone:
- Generalized body pain
- Fast heart rate
- Abdominal pain
- Excessive secretion of tears
- A runny nose
- Muscle and joint pain
Slowly tapering the drug is usually effective in preventing these symptoms. Sometimes, other medicines are also prescribed to counter withdrawal effects.
Alternatives to Dilaudid
Opioids are never the first line drug of choice. These are prescribed only when other analgesics have failed. There are both opioid and non-opioid alternatives to Dilaudid.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
The Natural Pain Medication: CBD
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical compound found in the marijuana plant. Back in 2900 B.C., Chinese used to treat joint pain and muscle spasms with marijuana. But when CBD was first discovered in 1940, scientists thought it is pharmaceutically inactive.
Later, indications on the potentially beneficial effects of CBD led researchers into studying this chemical in detail. Such researches are still ongoing. Until now, some animal studies have shown positive results of CBG usage for natural pain relief. Scientists are hopeful that further studies would ensure that CBD could provide natural pain relief.
How CBD Helps With Pain
Cannabinoids attach to certain receptors (CB1 and CB2) in the body. CB1 receptors, mainly present in the brain, are involved in dealing with pain, emotions, mood, appetite, coordination and movement, thinking, and memories, whereas, CB2 receptors are found more commonly in the immune system and are more related to inflammation and pain. Through its interaction with these two types of receptors, CBD reduces pain and inflammation.
Where To Get CBD
CBD is mostly used in oil form. To buy one, you may require a prescription from your doctor. Check this map to see if CBD oil is allowed for medicinal purposes in your state. Beware of low-quality CBD oils. Once you have the prescription, you can buy it from a reputed CBD company.
Bottom Line on Dilaudid
Dilaudid is a highly effective painkiller. It may be a drug of choice when other analgesics have failed. Because of its abusive potential, Dilaudid is a controlled substance and is sold only under prescription.
Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for information purpose only. It is not a substitute for professional advice. Additionally, we do not support the non-prescription sale of Dilaudid.
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