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What is a Hydromorphone?
Hydromorphone is a hydrogenated ketone medication of morphine, and it is an opioid agonist. It contains Hydromorphone, also known as dihydromorphinone. It helps treat moderate to severe pain—recommendation of long-term use only for the pain due to cancer. Hydromorphone is available in pharmacies by the name of Dilaudid most commonly.
Hydromorphone helps relieve moderate to severe pain. You may take it orally or by injection into a muscle, vein, or under your skin. Generally, its effects start within half an hour and last for up to five or six hours. The recommendation of long-term use of Hydrocodone is only in cancer, where the pain is deep-rooted and protracted. It is more beneficial than other opioids (or narcotics) for cancer pain. It is also helpful as an extended-release tablet in people who need daily, around-the-clock pain treatment.
Hydromorphone can also make your breathing shallow like other narcotic drugs. If the breathing becomes too weak, death may occur. Older adults, malnourished, and sick people are more likely to suffer from breathing problems due to hydromorphone use.
Hydromorphone functions in the brain and changes how your body parts feel and respond to pain. It belongs to the opioid analgesic category of drugs. Both the drugs are pretty alike in the treatment of similar conditions. It is still a question of how this drug works to ease the pain. Researchers say it reduces pain by acting on specific opioid receptor areas in the brain and spinal cord, basically CNS(central nervous system). It works best if you start taking it when the first sign of pain occurs. If you wait for the pain to reach its worst stage, the medication may not work that well.
What to know before taking Hydromorphone?
You should avoid taking Hydromorphone if you are allergic to it or other narcotic medications, or if you have:
- Asthma (severe) or breathing problems;
- Stomach or intestinal blockage; or
- Paralytic ileus (a bowel obstruction)
Before taking it, tell your medical healthcare professional if you have ever had:
- Sleep apnea, breathing problems;
- A head injury, seizure (or convulsions), or brain tumor;
- Urination problems;
- Drug addiction, alcoholism, or mental illness;
- A sulfite allergy;
- Liver disease;
- Kidney disease; or
- Any issue with your gallbladder, thyroid, or pancreas.
If you take opioid medication during pregnancy, you could give birth to a drug-dependent baby. It can cause fatal withdrawal symptoms in the baby after its inception. Babies born dependent on opioids like Hydromorphone may need treatment for several weeks.
Do not breastfeed while taking Hydromorphone because the drug can pass into breast milk and cause breathing problems or drowsiness in a nursing baby.
How to take a Hydromorphone?
Read carefully and follow all the directions on the prescription label. Never take Hydromorphone in smaller or larger amounts or for longer than recommended. Tell your medical healthcare provider if you feel an increased desire to use more of this medicine.
Never share opioids with someone else, especially someone with a past of drug abuse, overuse, or addiction. Misuse of Hydromorphone can cause overdose, addiction, or death.
Stop taking all the around-the-clock narcotics when you start using Hydromorphone.
Swallow the whole capsule rather than crushing, chewing, breaking, dissolving, or opening it to avoid exposure to a potentially dangerous overdose.
Carefully measure the liquid medicine. Use the available dosing syringe or a medicine dose-measuring device rather than a kitchen spoon.
Do not suddenly stop taking Hydromorphone, or you could face unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Take your doctor’s help to stop using this drug safely.
Never break or crush a hydromorphone capsule to dissolve it into a liquid or inhale it or inject it into your vein. It can cause death.
Store hydromorphone away from heat and moisture at room temperature. Throw away any unused liquid drug after 90 days.
Keep track of your drugs and dispose of the leftover medicine properly.
Your hydromorphone dosage will depend upon your age, medical condition, reaction to the initial treatment.
Usual adult dosage for pain (Immediate release formulations):
- Oral pills- 2 mg to 4 mg orally within every 4 to 6 hours as needed
- Oral liquid- 2.5 mg to 10 mg orally within every 3 to 6 hours as needed
In case of overdose, take urgent medical help or call the Poison helpline at 1-800-222-1222. A hydromorphone overdose can be deadly, especially in a child or someone taking it without any prescription. Overdose symptoms may include severe drowsiness, slow heart rate, cold and clammy skin, muscle weakness, prolonged breathing, pinpoint pupils, or coma.
What to avoid while using Hydromorphone?
Avoid alcohol consumption because dangerous side effects or death may occur due to a combination of alcohol with Hydromorphone.
Hydromorphone may impair your thinking or reactions. Avoid driving any vehicle or operating any heavy machinery until you know the effect of this medicine on yourself. Dizziness or severe drowsiness can lead to accidental falls or severe injuries.
Hydromorphone side effects
Take urgent medical help if you have allergic reactions due to the use of Dilaudid. Allergic reaction signs include trouble breathing, hives, swelling of your face, throat, lips, or tongue.
Call your doctor instantly if you have:
- Confusion, feeling of extreme sadness or happiness;
- Shallow breathing, sighing, noisy breathing, breathing that stops during sleep;
- Severe weakness or drowsiness;
- Loss of interest in sex, sexual problems, impotence;
- Missed menstrual periods, infertility;
- Low cortisol levels- nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, worsening tiredness or weakness, dizziness
Common side effects of Hydromorphone may include:
- Drowsiness, dizziness;
- Nausea, vomiting, constipation, stomach pain;
- Feeling of extreme sadness or happiness;
- Tired feeling, headache;
- Dry mouth;
- Sweating, mild itching; or
- flushing (redness, warmth, or tingly feeling)
It is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur. Consult your doctor regarding side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What drugs can interact with Hydromorphone?
Opioids can interact with various other drugs and lead to dangerous side effects or death. Ensure that your doctor knows if you use:
- Other narcotic medications like prescription cough medicine
- A sedative like Valium- Xanax, alprazolam, Versed, Klonopin, lorazepam, diazepam, and others;
- Any drug that causes sleepiness or slows down your breathing- a sleeping pill, muscle relaxer, any treatment for mental illness or mood disorders; or
- Medicines that may affect the serotonin levels in the body
It is not a complete list, and various other drugs may interact with Hydromorphone, including prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, herbal products, and vitamins.