Hydromorphone injection is available as a regular strength solution (Dilaudid) and a concentrated solution (Dilaudid-HP) that contains more hydromorphone in each milliliter of solution. Your doctor should only prescribe the concentrated solution if you are opioid tolerant (have been treated with certain doses of narcotic medications for at least 1 week, allowing your body to adjust to this type of medication). The concentrated solution may cause serious side effects or death if it is used by a person who is not opioid tolerant. Be sure that you know which hydromorphone solution your doctor has prescribed, and always check to be sure you are receiving the correct medication.
Hydromorphone injection may be habit-forming and may cause slowed or stopped breathing or death if it is overused. Do not use more of it or use it more often than prescribed by your doctor. Tell your doctor if you or anyone in your family drinks or has ever drunk large amounts of alcohol, uses or has ever used street drugs, or has overused prescription medications, or if you have or have ever had depression or another mental illness. There is a greater risk that you will overuse hydromorphone injection if you have or have ever had any of these conditions.
Do not allow anyone else to use your medication. Store hydromorphone injection in a safe place so that no one else can use it accidentally or on purpose. Keep track of how much medication is left so you will know if any is missing.
Drinking alcohol or using street drugs during your treatment with hydromorphone injection increases the risk that you will experience serious, life-threatening side effects. Talk to your doctor about the risks of drinking alcohol or using street drugs during your treatment.
Taking certain other medications during your treatment with hydromorphone injection may increase the risk that you will experience serious, life-threatening side effects. Tell your doctor if you are taking or plan to take any of the following medications: other narcotic pain medications; medications for anxiety, seizures, mental illness, or nausea; muscle relaxants; sedatives; sleeping pills; or tranquilizers.
Why is this medication prescribed?
Hydromorphone injection is used to relieve pain. Hydromorphone injection is in a class of medications called opiate (narcotic) analgesics. It works by changing the way the brain and nervous system respond to pain.
How should this medicine be used?
Hydromorphone injection comes as a solution (liquid) to inject under the skin, into a vein, or into a muscle. It is usually injected once every 2 to 3 hours as needed. Use hydromorphone injection exactly as directed.
Your doctor may adjust your dose of hydromorphone injection during your treatment, depending on how well your pain is controlled and on the side effects that you experience. Talk to your doctor about how you are feeling during your treatment with hydromorphone injection.
If you have used hydromorphone injection for longer than a few days, do not stop using it suddenly. If you suddenly stop using hydromorphone injection, you may experience withdrawal symptoms including restlessness; teary eyes; runny nose; yawning; sweating; chills; muscle, back or joint pain; widening of the pupils; irritability; anxiety; weakness; stomach cramps; difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep; nausea; loss of appetite; vomiting; diarrhea; fast breathing; or fast heartbeat. Your doctor will probably decrease your dose gradually.
Other uses for this medicine
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before using hydromorphone injection,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to hydromorphone injection, any other medications, sulfites, latex, or any of the ingredients in hydromorphone injection solution. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention the medications listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section and any of the following: buprenorphine (Buprenex, Butrans, in Bunavail, in Suboxone); butorphanol; ipratropium (in Combivent); medications for glaucoma, irritable bowel disease, Parkinson's disease, ulcers, and urinary problems; and pentazocine (Talwin). Also tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any of the following medications or have stopped taking them within the past 2 weeks: isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar), or tranylcypromine (Parnate). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor if you have asthma, slowed breathing, a blockage in your stomach or intestines, or paralytic ileus (condition in which digested food does not move through the intestines). Your doctor may tell you not to use hydromorphone injection.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had a head injury or any condition that caused damage to your brain; any condition that increases the pressure in your brain; kyphoscoliosis (curving of the spine that may cause breathing problems); low blood pressure; hypothyroidism (condition in which the thyroid gland produces less hormone than normal); lung disease such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (a group of diseases that affect the lungs and airways); Addison's disease (condition in which the adrenal gland produces less hormone than normal); seizures; delirium tremens (severe withdrawal symptoms that may occur in people who drank large amounts of alcohol over time and have stopped drinking); urethral stricture (blockage of the tube that allows urine to leave the body); an enlarged prostate (a male reproductive gland); or gallbladder, pancreas, liver, or kidney disease.
tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. If you take hydromorphone regularly during your pregnancy, your baby may experience life-threatening withdrawal symptoms after birth. Tell your baby's doctor right away if your baby experiences any of the following symptoms: irritability, hyperactivity, abnormal sleep, high-pitched cry, uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body, vomiting, diarrhea, or failure to gain weight.
- tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are using hydromorphone injection.
- you should know that hydromorphone injection may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you.
- you should know that hydromorphone injection may cause dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting when you get up too quickly from a lying position. To avoid this problem, get out of bed slowly, resting your feet on the floor for a few minutes before standing up.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
If you are using hydromorphone injection on a regular schedule, use the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not use a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Hydromorphone injection may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- dry mouth
- mood changes
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, stop taking hydromorphone injection and call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:
- slowed or stopped breathing
- swelling of the eyes, face, lips, tongue, mouth, or throat
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
Hydromorphone injection may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while you are using this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Your healthcare provider will tell you how to store your medication. Store your medication only as directed. Make sure you understand how to store your medication properly. Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your health care provider about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
Symptoms of overdose may include:
- slowed or stopped breathing
- coma (loss of consciousness for a period of time)
- muscle weakness
- cold, clammy skin
- narrowing or widening of the pupils (dark circle in the middle of the eye)
- slowed or stopped heartbeat
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
This prescription is not refillable. If you continue to have pain after you finish the hydromorphone injection, call your doctor.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.