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Hydromorphone Side Effects: From Nausea to Addiction

Each year, thousands of people lose their lives as a result of a drug overdose. Of the more than 90,000 overdoses in 2020, nearly 70% involved opioids. And one opioid that has become increasingly popular among recreational users is a drug known as hydromorphone. Hydromorphone is extremely potent and even more addictive, yet many people are unaware of what it and the dangers it poses. But understanding common hydromorphone side effects can help you spot an addiction before it’s too late. Below is everything you need to know about hydromorphone, including where and how to get help for drug addiction in Ohio.

What Is Hydromorphone?

Hydromorphone, known more commonly under the brand name Dilaudid, is one of the most powerful synthetic narcotics in the opioid class of drugs. According to the British Journal of Anesthesia (BJA), hydromorphone is five to ten times more potent than morphine. That’s why hydromorphone is a schedule II controlled substance, typically prescribed for severe pain, or for those who are less affected by other opioid drugs.

Doctors typically prescribe drugs like Dilaudid in small doses, which is usually done to help prevent a tolerance build-up. Hydromorphone can be taken several different ways but is most commonly taken orally in the form of a pill. When taken orally, the drug usually takes effect within 30 minutes to an hour. However, hydromorphone can also be taken intranasally (through the nose) or intravenously (through the veins). When taken these ways, the drug can take effect almost immediately. Regardless of the method of administration, the effects of hydromorphone will usually last between four and six hours.

Other brand names for hydromorphone include Exalgo, Palladone, and Dilaudid-hp (meaning high potency Dilaudid). Common street names used to refer to opioids containing hydromorphone include D’s, Dillies, Big D, M-80’s, and Peaches.

Hydromorphone Abuse

Given that hydromorphone is highly potent, it has a high potential for abuse. Drugs like hydromorphone and other opioids act on the central nervous system. They suppress cough and pain symptoms, as well as lowering blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration levels. Opioids like hydromorphone enhance feelings of calm and relaxation, and when abused they can produce a euphoric like “high.” As a result, one of the most common hydromorphone side effects is addiction.


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After a short period of time, people who use hydromorphone may develop a tolerance or physical dependence. In these instances, an individual may begin to take more of the drug in order to feel the same effects. This can be extremely dangerous, as taking more than the recommended hydromorphone dosage can have serious side effects, including overdose, and in some instances death.

Someone who has built up a high tolerance to hydromorphone may experience serious withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking the drug. For this reason, opioid withdrawals certainly fall under the scope of hydromorphone side effects. Understanding the signs of hydromorphone addiction can help you stop addiction before it’s too late.

Signs of Hydromorphone Addiction

Addiction can present itself differently in different people. And while hydromorphone side effects can include physical and mental aspects of addiction, both of these issues can present in wildly different ways. Along with building a tolerance, users of hydromorphone who may be developing an addiction may display some of the following signs:

  • Near-constantly thinking about when and how to get the next dose of hydromorphone
  • Spending excessive amounts of money on the drug
  • Failing to keep up with responsibilities such as work or school
  • Forging prescriptions
  • Purchasing Dilaudid or other opioids online or off the street
  • Neglecting friends or family members in favor of drug use

Many people with a hydromorphone addiction will also do what is known as “doctor shopping.” This is when someone will visit several doctors with complaints of pain or other conditions that require a Dilaudid prescription.

Along with understanding the signs of hydromorphone addiction, it’s also important to understand the side effects associated with Dilaudid and other hydromorphone opioids.

Hydromorphone Side Effects

Hydromorphone Side Effects

Along with its intended effects, hydromorphone has a number of unwanted side effects. These can range from mild to severe and may require medical attention depending on their severity.

Some common Dilaudid side effects include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Drowsiness
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness

Although not all of the above-mentioned side effects may occur, if they do, they may require medical attention. Hydromorphone side effects can turn from mild to serious in a matter of minutes, which is why understanding the signs of an overdose is so important.

Signs of Hydromorphone Overdose

In addition to the above hydromorphone side effects, users should also be wary of hydromorphone overdoses. Each day in the United States, 44 people die from prescription opioid overdose, many of those involve drugs like Dilaudid.

Since hydromorphone is an opioid, it has the potential to suppress the respiratory system, which can cause adverse side effects such as slowed breathing, drowsiness, and difficulty breathing.

Seek emergency help immediately if any of the following symptoms of a hydromorphone overdose occur:

  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Drowsiness that is so severe you are unable to speak or wake the individual
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Seizures
  • Slow heartbeat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Unresponsiveness or loss of consciousness

Stopping addiction as soon as you recognize it is the best way to prevent an opioid overdose. While it’s not easy battling an addiction to hydromorphone, there are ways to successfully overcome it. One of the best ways to do so is through an addiction treatment center.

Overcoming Hydromorphone Addiction at The Woods at Parkside

Overcoming Hydromorphone Addiction at The Woods at Parkside in Ohio

While there’s no simple cure for hydromorphone addiction, The Woods at Parkside can help you successfully overcome your addiction with a wide variety of treatment options. Located just outside Columbus, Ohio, our world-class addiction treatment team is no stranger to drug and alcohol addiction, including Dilaudid and other hydromorphone opioids.

At The Woods at Parkside, we understand that no two addictions are the same. That’s why we offer a number of different treatment options that can be tailored to fit your exact needs. Some of the treatments we offer include:

If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to hydromorphone, the time to get help is now. Whether you’d like to know more about our addiction treatment programs, or if you have more questions about potential hydromorphone side effects, we’re always happy to help. Give us a call today by calling 419-452-4818, or contact us online by using our confidential contact form. Whichever way you choose, we’ll be ready to help you on your way towards a happier, healthier lifestyle.

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Please note: For medical emergencies, please call 911. For other urgent matters, please call our admissions line (419) 452-4818. Submissions after-hours, weekends, or holidays may experience a longer response time.

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