Dilaudid (Hydromorphone) Side Effects, How it Works, Upsides & Tips

Hydromorphone is classified as an opioid analgesic which alters the chemicals in the brain to change how the body perceives and responds to pain. Dilaudid is primarily used for relieving moderate to severe intensities of pain while the extended-release tablets offer round-the-clock treatment.



Side effects of Dilaudid

If you notice the following signs of an allergic reaction, get medical help immediately:

  • Swelling of the face, throat, tongue, or lips
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Hives

Serious side effects experienced when using Dilaudid include:

  • Feeling as if you might faint anytime
  • Severe drowsiness or weakness
  • Confusion
  • Convulsions
  • Trouble breathing or tightness in the chest
  • Pounding heartbeat


Moreover, the common side effects include:

  • Insomnia
  • Strange dreams
  • Itching
  • Dry mouth
  • Sweating
  • Flushing
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain


How to take Dilaudid

Dilaudid must always be taken as prescribed and it should never be taken in larger amounts than prescribed or for longer too. Follow the directions given on the prescription label and inform the doctor if you think the medicine has stopped being effective for relieving pain.

If you are using the extended-release tablet, then make sure you don’t break, crush, or chew it. Instead, you must swallow it down in one go as breaking it can cause excess amounts of drug to be released.

When using the liquid form of this medicine, measure it using a special medicine cup or a dose-measuring spoon instead of using a regular spoon.

Moreover, do not stop using hydromorphone all of a sudden after using it for a long time or it could lead to unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Make sure to ask your doctor about dealing and avoiding withdrawal symptoms once you stop using hydromorphone.


Downsides. If you are between the ages of 18 and 60, take no other medication or have no other medical conditions, side effects you are more likely to experience include:

  • Respiratory depression (severe difficulty with breathing) is the main side effect associated with Dilaudid. More likely to occur in the elderly, debilitated, or in those with preexisting breathing problems, even at moderate therapeutic dosages.
  • May be sought after by drug abusers or people with addiction disorders.
  • May cause light headedness, dizziness, sedation, nausea, vomiting, sweating, flushing, dry mouth and itchiness.
  • May also cause drowsiness and affect a person’s ability to drive or operate machinery.



Hydromorphone is habit-forming and must only be used when prescribed. Keep it away from those that are not prescribed to Dilaudid.

Alcohol, when coupled with narcotic pain medicine, can lead to dangerous side effects and even death. Therefore, check your medicine and food labels to ensure that they also don’t contain alcohol.

Dilaudid can impair your ability to think and react. Thus, it is best to avoid operating machinery and driving until you are certain of the effects of hydromorphone on you.

Avoid using Dilaudid if you have ever experienced an allergic reaction to other narcotic medicines such as Vicodin, Percocet, OxyContin, morphine, codeine, Lortab, and methadone. You should also avoid hydromorphone if you have an asthma attack or have paralytic ileus, a bowel obstruction.

Avoid hydromorphone if you have used an MAO inhibitor like tranylcypromine, selegiline, rasagiline, phenelzine, isocarboxazid, and furazolidone in the last two weeks. Otherwise, a deadly drugs interaction can take place, leading to life-threatening side effects.

To ensure Dilaudid is the safest choice for you, make sure to inform the doctor if you have the following conditions:

  • History of drug addiction or alcoholism
  • Mental illness
  • Asthma, sleep apnea, COPD, or similar breathing disorders
  • Underactive thyroid
  • Urination problems
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Pancreatitis
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Kidney or liver disease
  • Curvature of the spine
  • Low blood pressure
  • Epilepsy or similar seizure disorders
  • Brain tumor
  • History of head injury
  • Adrenal gland disorders like Addison’s disease
  • Recent use of tranquilizers, sedatives, alcohol, and other narcotics