Hydromorphone HCL (generic Dilaudid)


Dilaudid (hydromorphone) is prescribed to relieve pain. It is an opiate analgesic and works by changing the way the brain and nervous system respond to pain. Knowing how long Dilaudid remains in your system may be helpful in avoiding an overdose of the medication by taking too much, too soon. Other brand names for Dilaudid include Hydrostat and Palladone.


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How Long Dilaudid Affects Your System?

When hydromorphone is taken orally, it reaches its peak effect in 30 minutes to an hour. The elimination half-life of oral hydromorphone is about 4 hours.

Dilaudid can cause serious or life-threatening breathing problems, especially during the first two days of taking the medication or if your doctor increases the dosage. You should be carefully monitored when you start taking this medication.

You must not drink alcohol while using Dilaudid. Other medications can affect how Dilaudid works in your system. It is very important to discuss all other prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and herbs with your doctor or pharmacist so they can advise you and adjust your prescriptions properly for safety.

Specific medications to be aware of interactions with hydromorphone include MAO inhibitors, blood pressure medicine, diuretics (water pills), medicine for depression, phenothiazine, and anything that makes you sleepy. It also can have interactions with St. John’s wort and tryptophan.

Also be aware that Dilaudid can make you drowsy. Until you know how it affects you, it is safer to not drive or operate heavy machinery.

But it is also critical to continue to take Dilaudid on the schedule provided by your doctor. If you suddenly stop taking it after you have been taking it for several days you are likely to go through withdrawal, which can be dangerous. Removing it from your system can cause a severe reaction. Only reduce using Dilaudid when advised to do so by your doctor and follow the schedule provided.



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