Dilaudid Addiction

Dilaudid is the brand name for hydromorphone, which is a powerful synthetic narcotic. This medication for moderate to severe pain carries a risk for addiction, with severe consequences being overdose and death. Learn Dilaudid addiction facts, signs, and recovery options to help you or a loved one.

Is Hydromorphone an Opiate?

Sold under the name Dilaudid, hydromorphone is within the opioid class of drugs. Taken orally (tablet or liquid) or via injection, it is an opiate widely used in hospitals, from alleviating pain in cancer patients to patients undergoing surgery. But, potent side effects of Dilaudid are evident; as per a 2009 study, a single dose of 2 mg IV hydromorphone was too much opioid for a single first dose for nonelderly participants in acute pain. Indeed, it is a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act, as is morphine. This may lead one to ask “is Dilaudid stronger than morphine?”

Dilaudid vs. OxyContin vs. Morphine

Regarding Dilaudid vs. OxyContin, they are both pain relievers within the opioid family and they are both Schedule II controlled substances. OxyContin, a brand name of oxycodone, has a high abuse potential, like Dilaudid. Research shows though that when taken in the same doses, hydromorphone has a higher potency than OxyContin.

As for whether Dilaudid is stronger than morphine, the answer to this type of question is not clear-cut, for several reasons. Firstly, it can depend on how people react to each drug — side effects can vary between individuals. Furthermore, hydromorphone is a morphine derivative. But, with that being said, there is research to support hydromorphone being 5 to 10 times more potent than morphine. While this makes it an effective painkiller, hydromorphone can cause physical and psychological dependence.

Dilaudid Addiction Facts

IV Dilaudid addiction is a serious issue within the US. As per a 2008 research report, hydromorphone was the most frequently prescribed opioid across the nation. Its use increased dramatically (2.8-fold) between 1998 and 2008.

This is worrisome given the addictive tendencies of the drug, especially in light of the following Dilaudid addiction facts. First-time abusers of prescribed opiates, which includes Dilaudid, rose from 628,000 to 2.4 million between 1990 and 2002 in the U.S. along with ER room visits involving opioid abuse (up 45% between 2000 and 2002). This statistic speaks to the risks involved with hydromorphone and its high tendency for abuse.

How Long Does It Take to Get Addicted to Dilaudid?

Firstly, is hydromorphone addictive? How long does it take to get addicted to IV Dilaudid? Taking Dilaudid, orally or by injection, can start safely, such as in a hospital environment, but it can be addictive. It is easy to build a tolerance to hydromorphone, as per Illinois Eastern Community Colleges.

Tolerance means the body physically depends on the opiate and, with Dilaudid, this can occur quickly over weeks or months. A person may up the dosage to feel the euphoric, sedating, and relaxing effects associated with this drug, which is quick acting, and this can lead to abuse and addiction. This is why it is typically only prescribed for short periods of time.

Side Effects

Physical dependence on hydromorphone can lead to side effects. Side effects of Dilaudid taken over long-term are mental dependence (addiction), and physical effects can occur even with normal doses, including dry mouth, headache, restlessness, sleeplessness, feeling weak and dizzy, and absence of appetite.

As the Mayo Clinic further explains, some side effects do not require medical aid and can go away with treatment. However, other signs are more serious, including problems breathing. Symptoms of overdose require immediate medical attention; examples are a slow heartbeat, cold and clammy skin, seizures, alteration in consciousness, and inability to speak.

Getting Help for Dilaudid Addiction

Given the serious side effects of Dilaudid and the described Dilaudid addiction facts, including its comparisons to morphine and OxyContin, an IV Dilaudid addiction must be given proper attention. Entering a rehabilitation center that focuses on addressing this particular type of drug addiction through a custom treatment plan from medical professionals is likely the best approach for someone who suffers from hydromorphone dependence. With the risk of overdose on the line, and even a fatality, why wait another day? Contact us now for you or a loved one to get on a healthier life path.


Meta: Are you or a loved one suffering from Dilaudid addiction? Learn the facts, signs and recovery options from this narcotic abuse to set you on a path to recovery.