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Side Effects of Hydromorphone (Dilaudid, Exalgo)


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Hydromorphone (Dilaudid) Side Effects

Hydromorphone, also known as Dilaudid, is a strong narcotic analgesic and opioid used to relieve pain. There is some safety considerations with Dilaudid, as it can slow or stop your breathing (known as respiratory depression) which can be fatal. Risk is highest when starting Dilaudid or when the dose is increased, and can occur at recommended doses.


FDA Black Box Warning

The FDA has given a black box warning on Dilaudid. Dilaudid is a controlled substance and has the risks of abuse, misuse, and addiction. Use of Dilaudid even when taken as recommended doses can lead to overdose or death. It should never be shared with another person, especially someone with a history of drug abuse or addiction.

Common Sde Effects

Acccording to the Dilaudid drug label as reported by the FDA, common side effects associated with Dilaudid include:

  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Sleepiness
  • Vomiting
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Abdominal pain

If you have any of these symptoms and they are severe, immediately contact your healthcare provider.

Drug Interactions and Contraindications

Dilaudid should not be taken if you have severe asthma, a bowel blockage, have narrowing of the stomach or intestines, and history of surgeries or allergic reactions to Dilaudid. Low blood pressure, excessive sedation, severe breathing problems, and death can occur if Dilaudid is taken with certain other medicines. Additionally, Dilaudid can complicate head injuries and may aggravate seizures in people who experience them.

Understand Your Risks with the Rxight® Genetic Test

The science of pharmacogenetics allows patients to learn their own personal genotype. This genotype includes the DNA that code for metabolic enzymes, which process Dilaudid. Rxight® pharmacogenetic testing by MD Labs provides patients with their genotype in one convenient test panel, along with a detailed analysis of their metabolism of hundreds of prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications across over 50 pharmacological classes, which will be reviewed with you by a pharmacist trained in pharmacogenetic testing. If you are interested in using Dilaudid but wary of the adverse effects, Rxight® genetic testing is a viable, simple option. Your pharmacogenetic test results gives doctors the ability to see how you will react to the medication before it is prescribed so that potentially dangerous adverse effects can be avoided.



Contributors to this Article:
Michael Sapko, MD, PhD; and Deborah Kallick, PhD, Medicinal Chemistry

Read more about Rxight® Genetic Testing Labs