Dilaudid is the brand name for a pain medication known as hydromorphone. It is often prescribed by doctors to relieve pain caused by broken bones, major surgical procedures, cancer, and other conditions that involve chronic pain. This drug is a part of a class of drugs called opioids. Opioids alter how the brain reacts to pain and in return, decreases the discomfort caused by severe pain. Although dilaudid can be effective in easing pain in the short-term, its use can lead to serious addiction and dependency problems if used recreationally.

Hydromorphone was first developed in Germany after the First World War during large-scale research into pain relief. It was created as an alternative to other pain relievers and was thought to include fewer negative side effects and health risks. The drug was first sold under the name Dilaudid in 1926.

Dilaudid can be taken orally, intravenously or rectally. It comes in a few different forms depending on the method of intake. It is available in pill form and is usually distributed in small, round, colored tablets or triangular white tablets. In its liquid form, the drug comes in a slightly syrupy, colorless solution that looks lear or pale yellow. Dilaudid suppositories are typically oblong in shape.

How is Dilaudid prescribed?

The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests that medical doctors use a three-step system for managing pain with opioids such as Dilaudid. The first step is to use non-opioid, over-the-counter medications like aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen. These are used to control the patient’s discomfort. If these drugs do not help with managing the pain, mild opioids like codeine are then prescribed. If this still does not do enough to relieve the patient’s pain, the third step is to use potent opioids like oxycodone and Dilaudid.

Is Dilaudid addictive?

Dilaudid is a semisynthetic drug that can be addictive and cause individuals to become dependent Many ask why Dilaudid is so addictive. There are a few reasons that it’s so addictive and popular. Dilaudid contains a high level of potency in small amounts, so it’s easy to take more than what’s prescribed, whether on purpose or not. Someone who misuses the drug and doesn’t have a prescription with directions of a prescribed amount might attempt to measure a certain amount to get high, and be unaware of its potency in small doses. Dilaudid is popular because of its desirable euphoric side-effects, which leaves users wanting more of it.

Dilaudid has become increasingly popular along with other opioids in the 1990s. During that time, physicians began to prescribe opioids more often, while pharmaceutical companies reassured the medical community that these opioid medications would not be addictive. The pharmaceutical companies turned out to be inaccurate with their predictions of opioid addiction, but they did not know it until after thousands of prescriptions were distributed. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, thousands of Americans die every year from an opioid overdose.

Symptoms of Dependency

An individual’s misuse of Dilaudid can quickly cause physical dependence after just a few days of abuse. Dependence can then lead to tolerance. When Dilaudid does not have the same effect on an individual anymore that it once did, it usually means that the body has developed a tolerance to it. This tolerance pushed many users to take bigger doses, which could easily lead to addiction and withdrawal if the dosage is decreased or stopped. Some of the most common symptoms of Dilaudid addiction include:

  • Depression
  • Agitation
  • Social isolation
  • Stomach pain
  • Seizures
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations

These are just a few physical symptoms of addiction. Dilaudid addiction can also have greater effects on an individual’s life by interfering with day-to-day activities, affecting relationships, finances and employment. Because of its potency and strength, Dilaudid should always be taken only as prescribed to prevent physical dependence, tolerance and addiction.

Symptoms of Dilaudid Overdose

As mentioned above, the misuse of Dilaudid can result in an overdose. If an overdose were to occur as the result of taking too much Dilaudid, these are a few symptoms that may occur:

  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness and dizziness
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Labored or shallow breathing
  • Weakened pulse
  • Stomach spasms
  • Seizures
  • Muscle twitches
  • Cold and clammy skin
  • Blue lips and fingernails
  • Coma

These symptoms of overdose can be life-threatening in many cases. If you or someone you know ever overdoses on Dilaudid, it is critical to seek medical help immediately.