Common Side Effects of Dilaudid (Hydromorphone)

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Dilaudid is an immediate release tablet and is used to relieve moderate to harsh pain. This medication belongs to a class of drugs that are known as opioid narcotic analgesics. This medication is also used in controlling pain that other treatments can’t control, and this drug can be used as part of combination therapy as well. 


How It Works

Dilaudid oral capsules are a part of a class of drugs known as opioid analgesics. It is still not clear how this drug helps in easing the pain. It may reduce the pain by acting on specific opioid receptors present in the spinal cord and brain.



Side Effects

Just like every other medication, Dilaudid also has some side effects. Some normal side effects that you may experience with this medication include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Sweating
  • Dry mouth
  • Flushing

Most of these side effects will start to decrease as you continue using this medication. If these effects start to get worse or become persistent, then make sure to visit your doctor right away.
To get rid of constipation, change your diet and fill it with fiber, plenty of water and exercise as well. You can also ask your pharmacist to get you a laxative that can act as a stool softener.
To reduce the effects of dizziness and lightheadedness, make sure that when you get up from your lying or sitting around position, get up very slowly.
These side effects are common and nothing to worry, but if they start to worsen, then you may seek medical help immediately. Remember that you have been prescribed this medication because your doctor believes that the benefits of Dilaudid are greater than the side effects.
Many people who take this drug do not experience any serious side effects; however, if you undergo any of the side effects mentioned below, visit a doctor.

  • Mood or mental changes
  • Hallucination
  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Stomach or abdominal pain
  • Difficulty while urinating
  • Signs of adrenal gland not working properly
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Unusual tiredness
  • Fainting
  • Seizure
  • Shallow or slow breathing
  • Severe drowsiness

If you see these side effects, do visit the nearest hospital right away.




Before taking Dilaudid, make sure that you are not allergic to hydromorphone or hydrocodone. Make sure that your doctor is aware if you have any other allergies since this medicine contains inactive ingredients that can lead to allergic reactions.
Make sure your physician knows all about your medical history especially of:

  • Brain disorder
  • Breathing problems
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Mental or mood problems
  • A family history of substance abuse
  • Stomach or intestinal problems
  • Difficulty in urinating
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Disease in pancreas
  • Underactive thyroid

This medication may even make you drowsy and dizzy so avoid alcohol and marijuana after using this drug and also do not use machinery, drive, or do any activity that requires you to stay alert.

Also, inform your practitioner if you are using this medication before having surgery or any dental and medical procedure. Your doctor must know about the other drugs you are using with Dilaudid including prescription drugs, herbal products, and nonprescription drugs.
Limit the consumption of alcohol when using this drug as this may have a direct effect on your blood level. Also, ask your doctor before using marijuana along with this drug.

Older adults can be more sensitive to the side effects that this drug has especially dizziness, confusion, drowsiness or shallow breathing.
If pregnant, make sure only to use this drug if it is clearly needed as this drug can harm your unborn baby. Make sure that you sit with your doctor and discuss the risks and benefits this medication has.

This drug may pass inside your breast milk and have unwanted effects on your nursing child; talk to your practitioner before using this drug. If your baby starts to develop unusual sleepiness, trouble breathing, or even difficulty in feeding; visit your doctor right away.




Drug interactions can change the way Dilaudid work. Some drugs, when interacting with this drug, can decrease the effectiveness of Dilaudid or increase the side effects of each other.
Make sure you have a list with the names of all the drugs you are using along with this medicine and share it with your physician. Do not stop, start, or change any dosage of drugs without consulting your doctor.
Some medications that can interact with this drug include pain medications and naltrexone. These medications can increase the risk of side effects such as severe drowsiness, dizziness, shallow breathing, and sometimes slow breathing as well.
Also, ensure your practitioner knows if you are taking this medication along with:

  • Cough relievers that include codeine, hydrocodone
  • Opioid pain
  • Alcohol
  • Marijuana
  • Drugs for anxiety and sleeping such as alprazolam, zolpidem,
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Antihistamines




Things to know

This drug can increase the risk of fatal breathing problems so senior people who already have lung problems have a higher risk and must be monitored.

Taking this medication along with opioid, alcohol, or any other sedative-hypnotics can lead to fatal breathing problems as well.
Since this drug is a schedule 2 opioid agent, it can lead to people being dependent on this drug and get addicted. So, monitor your loved one who may have a history of addiction problems.

If your child swallows this drug accidentally, then it can lead to high overdose and even death.

If a woman uses this drug for a long time while being pregnant, then this can lead to opioid withdrawal symptoms in the newborn baby, and this can also threaten the life of the baby. Withdrawal symptoms may include irritability, hyperactivity, high pitched crying, vomiting, diarrhea, and no weight gain.

In case you forget a dose and the time of the second dose is near, then take a single dose and skip the dose that you missed.





Tagged under Opioid