Dilaudid, a brand name for Hydromorphone and Dihydromorphinone, is a synthetic opioid commonly prescribed for relief of moderate to severe pain, such as those suffering from cancer-related pain, severe postoperative pain or severe breakthrough pain.
Dilaudid is a very powerful opioid analgesic and abuse and addiction to this drug can lead to respiratory depression and even death. For the most part, Dilaudid is usually only administered within a hospital environment, except in the cases of cancer patients who may be provided with a take-home prescription.
As with all opioids, it is not intended for long term use. Again, cancer and terminal illness are exceptions to this rule. When Dilaudid is used for prolonged periods of time it will cause drug tolerance and drug dependence. This means that on stopping Dilaudid, you will experience some very unpleasant opioid withdrawal symptoms.
Dilaudid is a sought after drug by those that suffer from substance misuse disorders, in particular those that have a problem with strong opioids and/or opioid painkillers.
Dilaudid has many similarities to morphine in the way that it works, except that hydromorphone is 5 to 10 times stronger than morphine. The effects produced by Dilaudid are similar to that of heroin. This gives the drug a very high potential for abuse and addiction.
Withdrawal from strong opioids such as Dilaudid is notoriously tough on the body and the mind. Many find that rather than go through the pain of opioid withdrawals, they continue to take Dilaudid even when there is no longer a genuine medical need.
Here, at Detox Plus we are able to help those dependent on opioids to undergo a safe and manageable detox within our medically facilitated detox centres. If you have a problem with any opioid, especially one as potent as Dilaudid, we urge you to seek professional help.
What is Dilaudid and how it works
Hospital heroin, Big D, Hydromorphone, Dillies
Dilaudid is a brand name for the generic drug Hydromorphone Hydrochloride and is an opioid narcotic. Its uses in both children and adults are for severe pain in cancer.
Dilaudid is available in various methods of administration, including oral tablets and capsules, oral liquids, injectable liquids and suppository. Dilaudid comes in various dosages and is available in both immediate-release and extended-release.
Both the immediate release and extended-release forms can be abused. However, it is more common for a drug abuser to abuse the immediate release form as it provides a more immediate and potent high.
In the UK, Dilaudid is a Class B controlled drug, meaning that it is illegal to possess without a genuine prescription. Those that obtain Dilaudid from the streets or via the dark web, do so illegally. Taking Dilaudid that belongs to a friend or a relative is also illegal, as is giving it away or selling Dilaudid that is prescribed for you.
If you are prescribed Dilaudid, it is vitally important that you keep your medication safe, or that you have a trusted carer to keep it safe for you. Because of its potency, a person with little or no tolerance to strong opioids could easily overdose and die as a result of taking it.
Dilaudid works by binding itself to pain receptors in the central nervous system and changing the way the body and brain respond to and perceive pain. In this way, hydromorphone works by dramatically reducing the amount of pain felt.
One of the side effects is a euphoric high, it is this high that is sought after by those that abuse the drug.
Warnings – Risks associated with Dilaudid
Dilaudid will suppress your respiratory system. You should therefore make your healthcare provider aware of any breathing-related conditions that you suffer from, such as sleep apnea, asthma, or if you have COPD (Coronary Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) before you take this medication.
It should never be mixed with alcohol or other depressant drugs. Mixing with benzodiazepines or other opioids can cause respiratory arrest and death. Mixing opiates or alcohol with hydromorphone increases your risk of respiratory failure and death.
Taking sleeping tablets with Dilaudid also increases your risk of stopping breathing whilst asleep. If you are taking any medications or drugs (including alcohol) that suppress your central nervous system it is vital that you make your doctor or consultant aware.
Taking for a prolonged period of time will cause the medication to become less effective in treating pain. In instances where you become tolerant to a dosage of Dilaudid, you will need to speak to your healthcare provider about possibly increasing the dosage or the frequency of administration.
Whilst taking Dilaudid, over the counter medicines containing codeine should be avoided unless advised otherwise by your doctor.
When beginning treatment, you should not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how this medication affects you. Dilaudid can cause drowsiness, dizziness, sleepiness and delayed reaction times, especially when first starting treatment.
The effects and side effects of Dilaudid
Dilaudid, whilst an extremely effective analgesic, comes with a host of side effects commonly associated with opioids.
The effects of Dilaudid include:
- Artificial feelings of wellbeing and warmth
- Pinpoint pupils
- Slurred speech
- Delayed reaction times
- Feelings of relaxation
- Impaired balance
- Impaired coordination
- Reduced respiratory rate
Because of the effects, it is advised that you do not drive or operate heavy machinery whilst under this drug’s influence
The side effects of Dilaudid include:
- Dry mouth
- Reduced cognitive ability
- Reduced awareness
- Facial flushing and increased sweating
- Impaired vision
- Loss of appetite
- Intense itching of the skin
- Mood swings
Long term use can have an adverse effect on fertility in both men and women
If you take too much Dilaudid or mix it with alcohol, opiates or other CNS depressant drugs you will be at high risk of overdose and may die without emergency medical treatment.
If you experience the following symptoms of overdose, call the emergency services at once or tell someone you are with.
Likewise, if you witness the following symptoms of Dilaudid overdose in another person, place them on their side in the recovery position and call an ambulance without delay.
Signs of Dilaudid overdose include:
- Noisy, shallow breathing that keeps stopping
- Loss of consciousness
- Feelings of lightheadedness or that you are about to keep passing out
- Slow and weak pulse
- Severe drowsiness and weakness
If you suspect a hydromorphone overdose, or an overdose related to any opioid – acting quickly and calling emergency medical help could just save a life.
Dilaudid dependence & withdrawal
If you have been taking a prescription for Dilaudid and wish to stop, please speak to your healthcare provider. It is important that you do not just suddenly stop taking Dilaudid without seeking the appropriate medical advice first.
Abruptly stopping hydromorphone where a dependence has developed will result in severe opioid withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable and may even become life-threatening.
For anyone that suffers from dependence a monitored tapering off regime is recommended if they wish to stop. Alternatively, a full medical detox within the comfort and safety of one of our private CQC registered detox clinics can be arranged by contacting us directly.
The benefits of a full medical detox for Dilaudid include:
- 24/7 monitoring and support delivered by qualified healthcare professionals
- Peaceful and comfortable surroundings
- Emergency care on standby
- Approved pharmaceutical medications to help diminish opioid withdrawal symptoms
- Regular reviews conducted by a qualified doctor
- A full aftercare programme
- Opportunity to undergo a comprehensive bespoke rehabilitation treatment programme
- Supportive holistic treatments and therapies
- Professional support available around the clock
- Return back home free from Dilaudid
We recognise that the effects of opioid withdrawal can be very frightening and uncomfortable. This is why we at Detox Plus will do everything possible to ensure you feel fully supported and as comfortable as possible.
Our state of the art detox clinics are purpose-built to support our patients and to ensure they receive the highest standards of care throughout their stay.
Call us today for a free, confidential assessment and further information on how we can help
Dilaudid abuse and addiction
Dilaudid abuse can lead to Dilaudid addiction; a life-threatening condition that will require professional help and treatment in order to overcome.
In 2020, in England and Wales, there were 2,996 recorded deaths that were attributed to drug misuse. This accounts for two-thirds of all deaths recorded that resulted from drug poisoning. Almost half of all drug poisonings involved an opiate. The picture in Scotland is equally, if not more, bleak.
The vast majority of deaths that result from opioids can be avoided, yet we see a similar picture year in and year out.
And, it is not only those that abuse opioids that are at risk. Even those that follow a genuine prescription for an opioid such as Dilaudid can become addicted or develop a dependence. Overdosing is a real risk, especially if a person combines their prescription with alcohol or other opiate-based painkillers.
Dilaudid addiction is far more than just dependence on the drug. A person who is addicted will take great risks with their own wellbeing. They will have very good reasons NOT to take Dilaudid, yet these reasons will not be enough to counteract the compulsive need they have to use the drug and get repeatedly high.
Someone who abuses Dilaudid or is addicted will be at a much higher risk of overdose and death.
A Dilaudid detox on its own will be insufficient to save an addicted person’s life. They will need to undergo intensive treatment in order to change their mindset, receive deep and effective healing and learn new skills and techniques to manage their emotions.
Recovery from Dilaudid addiction is an ongoing process of personal development, healing, and connection with like-minded others.
The signs of Dilaudid addiction
A person that is prescribed Dilaudid will develop a dependence within two to three weeks of continued use of the drug. This does not mean that they are addicted. Once detoxed, they will be able to continue with their everyday lives and not be tempted to return to Dilaudid again unless recommended by their physician.
Someone who suffers from a hydromorphone addiction, on the other hand, will crave and continually obsess over the drug, even when they have no trace of Dilaudid in their system.
Signs of abuse and addiction include:
- Purchasing online or from street dealers
- Stealing hydromorphone from friends or a sick relative
- Forging prescriptions
- Spending excessive amounts of money on obtaining Dilaudid, even if it involves borrowing or stealing from others
- Continually thinking and planning how, where and when to get their next hit
- Diverting from the intended route of administration, i.e crushing and snorting Dilaudid tablets
- Frequently intoxicated and under the effects of Dilaudid
- Failing to keep up with work or school responsibilities
- Neglecting commitments or missing appointments
- Loss of interest in the things they used to enjoy
- Spending less time with family and friends, preferring to isolate so they can get high
- Taking larger amounts of hydromorphone as they become tolerant to its effects
- Mixing with alcohol, benzodiazepines, sleeping tablets or other opioids specifically for the effects
Dilaudid is a CNS depressant drug, a person under its influence is likely to present with pinpoint pupils and reduced respiratory rate. Once tolerant to the drug’s effects, they will need to take it just to feel normal and prevent opiate withdrawal symptoms from developing.
How long does Dilaudid stay in your system?
There are a number of personal factors that will affect the detection times for Dilaudid in your system, so we can only provide a general guide.
The guidelines for detecting hydromorphone in your system are:
- Dilaudid can be detected by urine sample test for 2 to 4 days after last use of the drug
- Dilaudid can be detected in the bloodstream for 24 to 48 hours after last use
- Dilaudid can be detected in saliva for 1 to 4 days after last use
- Dilaudid can be detected in a hair follicle sample for up to 3 months after last use, longer in chronic users of the drug
Stopping Dilaudid withdrawal
If you or a loved one need help to stop taking Dilaudid, call Detox Plus today. Our experts will conduct a free over the telephone assessment and advise you of the best course of action according to your individual treatment needs.
At Detox Plus we treat the whole person, not just the symptoms. Our bespoke treatment programmes will enable you or a loved one to detox from Dilaudid safely and comfortably. Furthermore, we will ensure that the root causes of why a Dilaudid addiction manifested are comprehensively treated by our team of multidisciplinary professionals.
A life free from Dilaudid addiction and dependence is possible! Call us now to find out more
- Deaths related to drug poisoning in England and wales 2020 – Office for national statistics – Selected substances https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/deathsrelatedtodrugpoisoninginenglandandwales/2020#drug-poisonings-from-selected-substances
- NICE – Hydromorphone Hydrochloride https://bnf.nice.org.uk/drug/hydromorphone-hydrochloride.html#indicationsAndDoses
- American Association for Clinical Chemistry: Lab Tests Online. Opioid Testing. March 15, 2018. https://labtestsonline.org/tests/opioid-testing
- Morphine versus hydromorphone – Does choice of opioid influence outcomes? https://www.hindawi.com/journals/prt/2015/482081/
- Hydromorphone Chloride - https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/d00255a1