Hydromorphone is one of the opioid painkillers prescribed for moderate to severe pain. The trade names for this drug include Dilaudid, Palladone, Exalgo, Hydromorph Contin, and Hydrostat. This is a fast-acting painkiller although there is also a time-release formula that will last up to twelve hours. It is often used after surgery or injuries. With so many knee and hip replacement surgeries, it is no wonder that there are many people addicted to hydromorphone when they have only taken it per the doctor’s orders. It may also be given for kidney stones or cancer pain.
Dilaudid or hydromorphone may be given orally as a pill, as an injection, or as a suppository. Dilaudid may also be administered through a pump that delivers the drug in a steady stream but with the allowance for the self-administration of a limited amount more in the event of breakthrough pain.
The drug is also used for a dry, hacking cough.
Like other opioids, hydromorphone may cause the following unpleasant effects:
- Drowsiness, sleepiness
- Urine retention
- Abdominal pain
- Difficulty sleeping
- Mood swings
- Inability to concentrate
- Loss of interest in sex
- Dilated pupils
- Labored breathing
- Cold skin (in overdoses)
Like any Opioid, the Danger of Addiction Exists
Dilaudid or hydromorphone carries the risk of addiction, whether it is abused or it is used exactly according to instructions. When a person has been taking it for a long period for pain and is physically addicted, a doctor can wean that person down off the drug a few milligrams at a time. There may be mild withdrawal symptoms during the weaning process.
If a person tries to discontinue this drug and get off it “cold turkey,” or unassisted, he (or she) is likely to suffer withdrawal symptoms similar to those of the heroin or oxycodone addict. These withdrawal symptoms can be utterly miserable. The only plus may be that since hydromorphone is a faster-acting opioid than most, the withdrawal period may not last as long as some others. This may be a very faint consolation for the person trying to get sober.
And as with any other opiate, there is a suppression of a user’s breathing. If too much is taken, a person will suffocate. If the drug is mixed with other drugs that also suppress breathing, like alcohol, antihistamines, barbiturates or benzodiazepines, this combination can kill a person.
Hydromorphone withdrawal symptoms are likely to include:
- More nausea and vomiting
- Intense, unbearable restlessness of legs and arms
- No appetite
- Emotional instability
- Irrational thoughts
- Flu-like symptoms
- Muscle and bone pain
- Return of the pain the drug was hiding, even stronger now
- Thoughts of suicide
Because of the severity of these symptoms, it is advisable to seek help when withdrawing from hydromorphone.
Opiates are Harder to Get Now
With a crackdown on the distribution of opioids in state after state, addicts migrate from one opioid after another, using anything they can get their hands on. Addicts entering the Narconon drug rehabilitation centers often report that, when they were abusing opioids, they had a long list of different types they would abuse - heroin, oxycodone, morphine, hydromorphone, hydrocodone, and others.
Getting Clean from Hydromorphone for Good
For over 50 years, the Narconon drug and alcohol rehabilitation program has been helping people get off opiate addiction.
Many rehab centers treating people for opiate addiction will prescribe other opiates as treatment - methadone, Suboxone, Subutex, buprenorphine. These forms of treatment all keep a person chained to a prescription or a clinic when it is not necessary. The Narconon program offers effective methods to help a person come off opiates in a tolerable manner, with plenty of nutritional support to help calm the body, and one-on-one work with the staff to calm the mind.
Opiate addiction can be a thing of the past. Someone you love does not need to risk an overdose death each day they are addicted. With the help of a Narconon drug rehab program and its staff, a person can put opiate addiction behind him and have the happy life he has been wishing for.