Dilaudid (hydromorphone) is an opioid pain medication. An opioid is sometimes called a narcotic.
Dilaudid is used to treat moderate to severe pain.
Dilaudid may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
You should not take Dilaudid if you have severe breathing problems, or a blockage in your stomach or intestines.
Dilaudid can slow or stop your breathing, especially when you start using this medicine or whenever your dose is changed. Never use Dilaudid in larger amounts, or for longer than prescribed. Do not crush, break, or open an extended-release pill. Swallow it whole to avoid exposure to a potentially fatal dose.
Dilaudid may be habit-forming, even at regular doses.
Before Using Dilaudid
Do not use Dilaudid if you have used a MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days. A dangerous drug interaction could occur. MAO inhibitors include isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue injection, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, tranylcypromine, and others.
Some medicines can interact with hydromorphone and cause a serious condition called serotonin syndrome. Be sure your doctor knows if you also take medicine for depression, mental illness, Parkinson’s disease, migraine headaches, serious infections, or prevention of nausea and vomiting. Ask your doctor before making any changes in how or when you take your medications.
You may not be able to take Dilaudid if you are NOT already being treated with a similar opioid (narcotic) pain medicine and are tolerant to it. Talk with your doctor if you are not sure you are opioid-tolerant.
Dilaudid may be habit-forming. Never share this medicine with another person, especially someone with a history of drug abuse or addiction. Keep the medication in a place where others cannot get to it. Selling or giving away hydromorphone to any other person is against the law.
It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. If you use hydromorphone while you are pregnant, your baby could become dependent on the drug. This can cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in the baby after it is born. Babies born dependent on habit-forming medicine may need medical treatment for several weeks. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
Hydromorphone can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are using Dilaudid.
How Should I Use Dilaudid?
Take Dilaudid exactly as prescribed. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Dilaudid can slow or stop your breathing, especially when you start using this medicine or whenever your dose is changed. Never use Dilaudid in larger amounts, or for longer than prescribed. Tell your doctor if the medicine seems to stop working as well in relieving your pain.
Dilaudid may be habit-forming, even at regular doses. Take this medicine exactly as prescribed by your doctor. MISUSE OF NARCOTIC PAIN MEDICATION CAN CAUSE ADDICTION, OVERDOSE, OR DEATH.
Measure the liquid medicine with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup, not with a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.
Do not stop using Dilaudid suddenly, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Ask your doctor how to safely stop using this medicine.
Never crush or break a tablet to inhale the powder or mix it into a liquid to inject the drug into your vein. This practice has resulted in death with the misuse of hydromorphone and similar prescription drugs.
Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light. Throw away any unused liquid after 90 days.
Keep track of the amount of medicine used from each new bottle. Hydromorphone is a drug of abuse and you should be aware if anyone is using your medicine improperly or without a prescription.
Do not keep leftover Dilaudid tablets or liquid. Ask your pharmacist where to locate a drug take-back disposal program. If there is no take-back program, flush any unused tablets or liquid down the toilet. Disposal of medicines by flushing is recommended to reduce the danger of accidental overdose causing death. This advice applies to a very small number of medicines only. The FDA, working with the manufacturer, has determined this method to be the most appropriate route of disposal and presents the least risk to human safety.
Dilaudid Side Effects
Seek medical attention right away if you have symptoms of serotonin syndrome, such as: agitation, hallucinations, fever, sweating, shivering, fast heart rate, muscle stiffness, twitching, loss of coordination, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Hydromorphone is more likely to cause breathing problems in older adults and people who are severely ill, malnourished, or otherwise debilitated.
Common Dilaudid side effects may include:
constipation, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain;
headache, tired feeling;
feelings of extreme happiness or sadness;
sweating, mild itching;
dry mouth; or
flushing (warmth, redness, or tingly feeling).
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.