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What is Dilaudid?

  • Dilaudid is an opioid pain reliever that helps relieve moderate to severe pain. It acts on specific centers in the brain to give you pain relief. 
  • Do not take alcohol while using Dilaudid. A combination of alcohol with hydromorphone could cause dangerous side effects or death.

Important Information

  • Dilaudid can stop or slow your breathing, especially when you start or change the dosage of this medicine. Never use this medication in smaller or larger amounts or for longer than recommended. Inform the doctor if the treatment is not working efficiently in relieving your pain. 
  • Tell your medical healthcare provider if you are pregnant. This medicine may cause life-threatening addiction and withdrawal symptoms in a newborn baby if the mother takes this medicine during pregnancy. 

What to know before taking Dilaudid?

  • Before taking Dilaudid, tell your medical healthcare provider if you are allergic to it or other opioid medication such as hydrocodone or morphine, or if you have other allergies. It may contain inactive ingredients such as latex and sulfites, leading to allergic reactions or other problems.
  • You should avoid taking Dilaudid if you have breathing problems (severe) or a stomach or intestines blockage. Do not take alcohol while using Dilaudid. A combination of alcohol with hydromorphone could cause dangerous side effects or death.

Before taking it, inform your medical healthcare provider about your medical history, especially of: 

  • Stomach or intestinal issues such as constipation, blockage, paralytic ileus, diarrhea due to infection
  • Brain disorders such as a tumor, brain injury, seizures, increased intracranial pressure
  • Breathing problems such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema, sleep apnea, severe asthma
  • Heart problems such as low blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, heart failure
  • Pancreatitis (a disease of the pancreas)
  • Mental disorders or mood changes such as psychosis, depression
  • Kyphoscoliosis (a specific spinal problem)
  • Family or individual history of a substance use disorder such as overuse, abuse, or addiction to drugs or alcohol
  • Difficulty urinating due to urethral stricture or enlarged prostate
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Liver disease 
  • Kidney disease
  • Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)

How to take Dilaudid?

  • Take Dilaudid precisely as per the doctor’s prescription. Dilaudid may be a habit-forming drug even at regular doses. Therefore, take this medicine precisely as per your doctor’s prescription. Misuse of narcotic pain medications like Dilaudid can cause addiction, overdose, or death. 
  • Measure the liquid form of this drug with a medicine cup or special dose-measuring spoon, not with a regular utensil. Ask your pharmacist for a medicine dose-measuring device if you do not have one. Never break or crush a pill to inhale the powder or mix it into a liquid to inject the drug into your vein. This practice caused death with the misuse of Dilaudid and other similar prescription drugs. 
  • Do not suddenly stop taking Dilaudid, or you could face unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Instead, take your doctor’s help to stop using this medicine safely. Store all forms of Dilaudid away from heat, moisture, and light at room temperature. Dispose of any unused liquid after 90 days. 
  • Keep track of your drug. For example, Dilaudid (hydromorphone) is a drug of abuse, and you must be aware if someone is misusing your medicine or without a prescription. Never keep leftover Dilaudid pills or liquid. Instead, learn about drug take-back disposal programs and dispose of the leftover medicine carefully.

Dilaudid dosage

  • Your Dilaudid dosage will depend upon your age, your medical condition, your response to the initial phase of treatment with Codeine, other medical conditions you have, other medicines you take. 
  • Never use this medication in smaller or larger amounts or for longer than recommended. Do not break, crush, or open an extended-release pill. Swallow the whole table to avoid exposure to a potentially fatal dose. 
  • Initially, Dilaudid oral solution must range from 2.5 mL (one-half) to 10 mL (two teaspoonfuls), 2.5 mg to 10 mg, within every 3 to 6 hours according to the need for pain. 


In case of an overdose of Dilaudid, take medical help immediately or call the Poison helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Overdosing hydromorphone can be deadly, especially in a child or someone else taking it without a prescription. Symptoms of overdose to Dilaudid may include slow heart rate and breathing, muscle weakness, severe drowsiness, pinpoint pupils, cold and clammy skin, and fainting. 

What to avoid while using Dilaudid?

  • Avoid alcohol consumption while taking Dilaudid. A combination of alcohol with hydromorphone could cause dangerous side effects or death.
  • The use of Dilaudid may cause impairment in your thinking or reactions. Avoid operating or driving any heavy machinery until you know this medicine’s effect on you. Dizziness or drowsiness can cause accidental falls or severe injuries. 

Dilaudid side effects

Dilaudid may cause nausea, constipation, vomiting, dry mouth, flushing, dizziness, lightheadedness, drowsiness, or sweating. Redness, pain, or swelling at the injection spot may also occur if you use Dilaudid in the injection form. If any of these persist or worsen, contact your medical healthcare provider. 

Tell your medical healthcare provider instantly or call for medical help if you have any severe side effects, including:

  • Interrupted breathing during sleep or sleep apnea
  • Severe stomach or abdominal pain
  • Extreme drowsiness leading to difficulty waking up
  • Slow, shallow, or irregular breathing
  • Rapid, slow, or irregular heartbeat
  • Mental disorders or mood swings such as confusion, agitation, hallucinations
  • Seizure (or convulsions)
  • Trouble in urination
  • Signs of an adrenal gland not functioning efficiently such as weight loss, unusual tiredness, loss of appetite

A severe allergic reaction to Dilaudid is rare. However, take instant medical help if you have Dilaudid allergic reaction symptoms, including rash, trouble breathing, severe dizziness, itching, or swelling in the face, throat, lips, or tongue.

It is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur. For further information regarding side effects, contact your medical healthcare provider. You may report it to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What drugs can interact with Dilaudid?

Dilaudid (hydromorphone) can interact with various drugs and cause dangerous side effects or death. Ensure that your doctor knows if you also use:

  • A sedative like Valium- alprazolam, diazepam, Xanax, lorazepam, Versed, Klonopin, and others;
  • Other narcotic drugs- prescription cough medicine or opioid pain medications;
  • Drugs that affect serotonin levels- a treatment or stimulant for depression, migraine headaches, Parkinson’s disease, nausea, and vomiting, or serious infections; or
  • Drugs that slow down your breathing or makes you sleepy- a muscle relaxer, sleeping pill, treatment to recover from mood disorders or mental illness.

It is not a complete list, and others may affect Dilaudid, including prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, herbal products, and vitamins.