Generic Name: Hydromorphone

  • What is Dilaudid?

    Dilaudid is a narcotic painkiller prescribed for the relief of moderate to severe pain.

  • What is the most important information I should know about Dilaudid?

    Dilaudid can cause severe adverse effects, including breathing difficulties and even death if not taken according to your doctor's directions. Do not adjust the dose or discontinue Dilaudid without consulting your doctor.

    Dilaudid is a potential drug of abuse. Mental and physical dependence can occur with the use of Dilaudid when it is taken repeatedly.

    Do not share this medication with others. Keep out of reach of children. When Dilaudid is no longer needed, the unused tablets should be destroyed by flushing them down the toilet.

    Call your doctor right away if you experience any pain or adverse reactions during therapy.

  • Who should not take Dilaudid?

    If you are sensitive to or ever had an allergic reaction to Dilaudid or narcotic painkillers, you should not take this medication. Make sure that your doctor is aware of any drug reactions that you have experienced.

    Do not take Dilaudid if you suffer from severe, uncontrolled breathing difficulties or uncontrolled asthma.

  • What should I tell my doctor before I take the first dose of Dilaudid?

    Tell your doctor about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Dilaudid. Also, talk to your doctor about your complete medical history, especially if you have severe liver or kidney disease, a seizure disorder, hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid gland), Addison's disease (adrenal gland failure), severe lung problems, a condition that reduces oxygen to the tissues (hypoxia) or causes an excess of carbon dioxide in the blood (hypercapnia), an enlarged prostate, a urethral stricture (narrowing of the urethra, the tube that connects from the bladder to the genitals to lead urine out of the body), low blood pressure, head injury, history of alcohol or other drug dependence, abdominal conditions, sulfite sensitivity, or if you are scheduled to have any surgical procedures involving the biliary tract. Also, tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your doctor uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your doctor may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your doctor's approval.


    Adults: The usual starting dose of Dilaudid tablets is 2-4 milligrams (mg) every 4-6 hours as determined by your doctor. A gradual increase in dose may be required if the drug effects are inadequate, as tolerance develops, or if pain severity increases.


    Adults: The usual dose of Dilaudid liquid is 1/2-2 teaspoonfuls every 3-6 hours. In some cases, the dosage may be higher.

  • How should I take Dilaudid?

    Take Dilaudid exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Never increase the amount you take without your doctor's approval.

  • What should I avoid while taking Dilaudid?

    Do not stop taking this medication without your doctor's approval. Abruptly stopping Dilaudid could cause withdrawal symptoms within the first 24 hours, including restlessness, tearing or watery eyes, dilated pupils, runny nose, yawning, sweating, goose bumps, and restless sleep.

    Dilaudid may impair mental and/or physical alertness. Avoid hazardous tasks such as driving a car or operating machinery.

    Dilaudid intensifies the effects of alcohol, sleep aids, and tranquilizers. Do not drink alcohol while taking this medication.

  • What are possible food and drug interactions associated with Dilaudid?

    If Dilaudid is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Dilaudid with the following: alprazolam, antinausea drugs, antihistamines, chlorpromazine, diazepam, general anesthetics, naloxone, narcotic painkillers, triazolam, and certain antidepressants.

  • What are the possible side effects of Dilaudid?

    Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this drug.

    Side effects may include: anxiety, constipation, dizziness, drowsiness, fear, impairment of mental and physical performance, inability to urinate, mental clouding, mood changes, nausea, restlessness, sedation, sluggishness, troubled and slowed breathing, vomiting

  • Can I receive Dilaudid if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    Do not take Dilaudid if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant unless you are directed to do so by your doctor. Dilaudid may appear in breast milk and could affect a breastfeeding infant. Consult your doctor if you plan on breastfeeding.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of Dilaudid?

    If you miss a dose of this drug, skip it. Do not take two doses at once.

  • How should I store Dilaudid?

    Tablets and liquid should be stored at room temperature.

Meet the Pharmacists

I'm Shereen A. Gharbia, PharmD. Welcome to PDR Health!

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