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Dilaudid: Side Effects, Withdrawal, Addiction & Treatment
Dilaudid is a powerful opioid analgesic that can be very effective in managing pain. It is used to relieve pain and is one of the most potent opioid medications available. However, it is also potentially addictive, and you need to be aware of the risks before taking it.
This post will provide an overview of Dilaudid, its benefits, and potential risks. In the end, you can make an informed decision about whether it’s the right medication for you.
What Is Dilaudid?
Dilaudid is another prescription medicine from the opioid class of pain-relieving drugs. The generic name of this drug is Hydromorphone. Its known brand names are Dilaudid and Exalgo. The active components of this medication are hydrochloride and hydromorphone.
The Drug Enforcement Agency classifies it as a Schedule II controlled substance. It is 2 to 8 times much stronger than morphine. A very small amount like 2 mg to 5 mg of this medication has a similar effect to 10 mg morphine.
Aside from that, it also has several street names which vary depending on the culture of the area. These street names are used to hide the real identity of the substance during illegal transactions. Some of its common street names include Footballs, D, Smack, Dillies, Juice, and Dust.
What Does Dilaudid Look Like?
Like other medicines, this one also exists in various forms in the market. You can find it as tablets, rectal suppository, injectables, and liquid forms.
Its tablet forms have strengths of 2 mg, 4 mg, and 8 mg. The 2 mg and 4 mg have round shapes while the 8 mg is triangular. The color of the 2 mg, 4mg, and 8 mg are light yellow, orange, and white, respectively.
The first two strengths both have pill imprints of “P” on one side. The other side of the pill varies, reflecting a pill imprint of the number of their strengths. Meanwhile, the 8 mg tablet has a pill imprint of “P D” on one side while “8” on the other side.
What Is Dilaudid Used For?
This medication is commonly used for medium to extreme pain, particularly after the person has undergone a major medical operation. Likewise, the potency of this drug is effective enough to alleviate the pain felt by cancer patients.
Different administrations of this medication have varying times for its effects to kick in and reach peak concentrations in the blood. The common ways of administering this medication are an intravenous injection, intramuscular injection, rectal administration, and oral ingestion.
The fastest means of feeling the effects of this drug is through intravenous injection. This way, the effects can be felt five minutes after the injection. The second method is Intramuscular injection, where the effects can be felt 15 minutes after the injection. Rectal administration takes 30 minutes. Finally, effects from oral ingestion start 15 minutes after orally taking it.
How Does Dilaudid Work?
This prescription drug works the same as the other opioid drugs. After administration, it mixes in the blood and targets the brain. It specifically attaches itself to the opioid brain receptors to inhibit the brain from receiving painful sensations. Likewise, it strengthens the pain-relieving effect by stimulating the secretion of dopamine in the brain.
Dopamine is both a hormone and a brain chemical responsible for the regulation of body movements and motivation. This hormone is also called the “happy hormone” in the body.
How Long Does Dilaudid Stay in Your System?
Hydromorphone can be detected in the body through drug tests. Its elimination half-life is around 2 to 3 hours.
Many factors will affect how long this drug can be detected in the system. These include metabolism, frequency of use, dosage, and method of administration.
Below is the average detection time of this substance in different drug tests:
- Urine – 2 to 4 days
- Blood- 1 to 2 days
- Saliva – 1 to 4 days
- Hair – 90 days
What are the Short and Long-term Effects of Dilaudid?
The moment one starts to use this medication, certain short and long-term effects can be felt by the patient. These short-term effects are similar to other opioid drugs. Some of the common short-term effects include vomiting, sweating, slowed breathing patterns, sleepiness, tremors, constipation, and itchiness.
First aid treatment can address some of these short-term side effects. For instance, constipation can be remedied by eating lots of fiber or drinking laxatives.
In terms of long-term effects, the common ones experienced by most users are convulsions, weak breathing patterns, low blood pressure, sweaty skin, discoloration of fingernails, skin, and lips; wheezing, and death.
Is Dilaudid Addictive?
Yes, this medication is addictive. It is considered one of the most addictive opioid drugs available on the market today. You can easily find that it’s habit forming.
The risk for addiction is high because this substance can create a feeling of euphoria. The pleasurable sensation that it creates will make the person want to keep on using it regardless of the consequences. Even if your Dilaudid prescription is legitimate, you can still develop an addiction to it.
What are the Withdrawal Symptoms of Dilaudid?
Withdrawal symptoms of Dilaudid addiction can be severe, with an intense craving for Hydromorphone. The withdrawal process will cause you to experience several symptoms including:
- Fever or chills
- Body Pain
- Rapid breathing and heart rate
- High blood pressure
- Decreased appetite
- Tremors and muscle spasms
- Restlessness, agitation, or trouble sleeping
- Anxiety, depression, or suicidal thoughts
What Causes Dilaudid Overdose?
Life threatening overdose occurs when you take too much of the drug. Because this pain medicine is so potent, you can easily overdose on the drug accidentally.
This medication must not be mixed with other substances such as alcohol. Drinking alcohol when medicating with this drug hastens its quick-action time. Moreover, alcohol magnifies its sedative effect. It can depress one’s breathing pattern and blood pressure which can cause paralysis and death.
How Do You Treat Dilaudid Overdose?
Naloxone is a medication used to treat overdoses. This drug works by blocking the effects of opioids in the brain. It is given through an injection or intravenous (IV) drip. Several doses may be needed to fully reverse the effects of an overdose.
In case of an overdose, it is important to immediately call for emergency medical help. An ambulance must be summoned so that appropriate medical treatment can be done right away.
How Do You Treat Dilaudid Addiction? Detox & Treatment
The first step in any treatment program is detoxification and abstinence from the drug. Detoxification is flushing out of the chemicals from the body. This can be done through stomach lavage, oral ingestion of activated charcoal, or blood dialysis.
Abstinence from the drug, whether gradual or sudden, always induces certain withdrawal symptoms from the user. The common withdrawal symptoms of this drug include sweating, headaches, muscle spasm, vomiting, stomach cramps, seizures, mood disorders, and restlessness.
Other withdrawal symptoms alter the cognitive and behavioral status of the person. These symptoms include suicidal behaviors, highly irritable, depression, and anxiety.
To counter the effects of this prescription drug, Suboxone is commonly prescribed to patients. This medication contains buprenorphine and naloxone. The general effect of these active ingredients is decreasing the impact of any opioid substances.
Naloxone decreases the impacts of opioid substances by preventing them from binding at the opioid receptor sites of the brain. Meanwhile, buprenorphine works differently. It works by attaching itself to the opioid receptor sites and decreasing the effect of these opioid substances.
The use of prescription drugs in any treatment program addresses the biological aspect of the addiction. Generally, it helps in balancing the hormones and brain chemicals to re-establish proper brain communication pathways and mood.
Aside from these medications, holistic therapies are included in any treatment program to reinforce positive behavior and hasten the recovery process. Individual and group therapies are both given to patients.
Individual therapy is private one-on-one counseling with a therapist. This intervention aims to help the patient further understand one’s condition and the things which influence it. This intervention also helps the patient identify the risk factors which trigger unhealthy behavior.
Likewise, the therapist guides the patient in formulating positive coping mechanisms when a trigger kicks in.
Meanwhile, Group Therapy aims to re-establish the social communication skills of the patient. In the group, each member is given the chance to share one’s thoughts and experiences in dealing with the condition. Moreover, members do community extension service to exercise social responsibility and proof that one is improving from the treatment.
Final Thoughts: Addressing Dilaudid Abuse and Addiction
Dilaudid is a powerful opioid pain medication that can be abused and lead to addiction. The dangers of abusing this drug increase the risk of developing tolerance and dependence on the substance.
Dilaudid addiction can still be treated with proper medications and therapies. If you or your loved one is struggling with this addiction, it is best to seek professional help right away.