Dilaudid is a morphine derivative as well as a brand name for hydromorphone. This opioid analgesic is a medication that can be prescribed for pain relief. To help understand its potency, hydromorphone is between two and eight times more powerful than morphine. As such, narcotics addicts frequently try to get Dilaudid IV as a heroin substitute, but just like any other drug there are side effects of Dilaudid.

What Should Be Known Before Using Dilaudid IV?

Although everyone should consider the Dilaudid IV side effects before considering taking this medication, there are some situations in which this is especially important.


If you have a history of allergic or unusual reactions to Dilaudid IV or any other type of medication, you should let your doctor know. Your doctor should also be aware of any other allergies you have, such as to animals, preservatives, dyes, and foods. In the case of non-prescription products, you will want to carefully read the label to avoid Dilaudid IV side effects.



There have not been studies conducted that research any connection between hydromorphone injections and age in pediatric populations. Because of this, efficacy and safety are unknown and it is best to be cautious.



So far the appropriate studies that have been conducted have not shown any side effects of Dilaudid IV that are specifically linked to the geriatric population and would limit its effectiveness among the elderly. Keep in mind, however, that this population has an increased risk of heart, kidney, or liver issues. This may in turn lead to the necessity to adjust the dose for a Dilaudid IV.



Several studies have been conducted looking at Dilaudid IV and breastfeeding and they have shown that hydromorphone may affect the composition or production of milk. This means that if you are breastfeeding and aren't prescribed an alternative for the medicine, you will want to monitor your infant to make sure he doesn't experience side effects and still receives enough milk.


Drug Interactions

There are multiple medications that may have negative interactions with hydromorphone and in some cases your doctor will avoid prescribing Dilaudid IV while on these medicines; while in other cases they will simply adjust your dose. Generally speaking, it is possible for your doctor to adjust your dose of Dilaudid IV or the interacting medication. Some medicines that will require this adjustment include naltrexone, chlorpromazine, clozapine, diazepam, hydrocodone, ketamine, methadone, pimozide, and zaleplon.


Other Medical Problems

In some cases, you may notice increased Dilaudid IV side effects if you suffer from other medical conditions. Possible issues include alcohol abuse, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, drug dependence, head injuries, hypothyroidism, mental illness, certain allergies, bowel blockage, hypotension, a history of seizures, kidney disease, or liver disease.

How to Use Dilaudid IV Safely

The exact way to use Dilaudid IV will depend on the version you have, and it may be given via an injection into the muscle, under the skin, or into a vein slowly. You should always use the injection exactly as your doctor says and learn the correct way to administer injections.

Before you use this medication, check it visually for discoloration or particles and only use it if it looks normal. Start by cleaning your injection site using rubbing alcohol and if you inject it under the skin or into a muscle, change the injection site every time as this prevents side effects of Dilaudid IV under your skin.

Use each syringe and needle only one time and discard them safely. Remember to pay attention to whether your medication contains just one dose or more than this. Don't save medication that remains in the package if you have a single-dose brand of hydromorphone.


Your dosage of Dilaudid IV will depend on your treatment response and medical condition with the most effective results occurring when used at the first sign of pain. Never increase your dose, use the medication for longer than your doctor prescribes, or use it more often than prescribed and stop the medication when directed.


In cases where you use narcotic patches or take long-acting narcotic medications for ongoing pain, you may be prescribed Dilaudid IV for breakthrough sudden pain as needed. In this case, always follow your doctor’s instructions to use non-narcotic pain relievers safely.

What Are the Possible Side Effects of Dilaudid IV?

It is possible to notice Dilaudid IV side effects such as constipation, flushing, vomiting, nausea, dizziness, lightheadedness, dry mouth, sweating, or drowsiness. You may also notice swelling, pain, or redness at the site of injection. If these side effects worsen or persist, let your doctor know.

Although unlikely, it is possible for more serious side effects to occur, in which case you should contact your doctor immediately. These can include changes in the quantity of urine, difficulty urinating, seizures, mental or mood changes, fainting, and severe stomach or abdominal pain.

Get medical attention right away if any of these rare and serious side effects take place: fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat; irregular, shallow, or slow breathing; difficulty waking up; or severe drowsiness.

It is rare to experience a very severe allergic reaction to hydromorphone, but you should get medical attention right away if you notice allergic reaction symptoms. These include severe dizziness, difficulty breathing, rash, and swelling or itching, particularly of the throat, tongue, or face.

As this list of Dilaudid IV side effects isn’t complete, you should let your doctor know if you notice anything not mentioned above.

Warnings and Precautions

  • Overdose: If at any point you suspect an overdose, contact an emergency room or poison control center right away. Signs of overdose may include seizures, bluish nails/lips/skin, cold or clammy skin, slow heartbeat, slow or shallow breathing, inability to wake up, and severe drowsiness.

  • Missed dose: If you are supposed to use Dilaudid IV following a regular schedule but miss a dose, use the medication when you remember. If it is close to your next dose, skip your missed dose and continue as normal. Never double doses to catch up.

  • Storage: Store your medication at room temperature away from moisture and light and not in the bathroom. Read the product packaging for specific storage instructions and keep it away from pets and children. Always discard of it properly.

  • Never share this medication with others as this is illegal and dangerous, causing them potential harm. The medication is prescribed for a particular situation and you should not use it later on for a different condition unless your doctor tells you to.

  • If you notice nausea, talk to your pharmacist or doctor for ways to relieve this. They may suggest lying down for several hours with minimal head movement or taking antihistamines.


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