Generic name: Hydromorphone hydrochloride.

Other brand names: HydroStat.

Dilaudid is a narcotic analgesic. It works by altering the response to painful stimuli.

Quick Facts About Dilaudid


Used to treat moderate to severe pain caused by: bilary colic (obstruction of the gallbladder or bile duct), burns, cancer, heart attack injury, renal colic (sharp lower back and groin pain from passing a stone), surgery. Is prescribed with caution after surgery or for patients with lung disease, as Dilaudid suppresses the cough reflex.

Dilaudid Dosage

Take exactly as prescribed; consult with your doctor to increase the amount.

  • Usual adult dose: tablets — 2 to 4 milligrams every 4 to 6 hours. Liquid — 1/2 to 2 teaspoonfuls every 3 to 6 hours. Suppositories — 1 suppository inserted rectally every 6 to 8 hours. Seniors — dosage will be prescribed according to individual needs. Mental and physical dependence may result from high doses taken repeatedly.
  • Usual child dose: not generally prescribed for children.
  • Missed dose: take as soon as possible, unless almost time for next dose. In that case, do not take missed dose, go back to regular schedule. Do not double doses.

Dilaudid Side Effects

Overdose symptoms:

bluish tinge to the skin, cold and clammy skin, constricted pupils, coma, extreme sleepiness progressing to unresponsiveness, labored or slow breathing, limp, weak muscles, low blood pressure, slow heart rate. If you suspect an overdose, immediately seek medical attention.

More common side effects: 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.

Less common Dilaudid side effects: agitation, blurred vision, chills, cramps, diarrhea, difficulty urinating, disorientation, double vision, dry mouth, exaggerated feelings of depression or well-being, failure of breathing or heartbeat, faintness/fainting, flushing, hallucinations, headache, increased pressure in the head, insomnia, involuntary eye movements, itching, lightheadedness, loss of appetite, low or high blood pressure, muscle rigidity or tremor, muscle spasms of the throat or air passages, palpitations, rashes, shock, slow or rapid heartbeat, small pupils, sudden dizziness on standing, sweating, taste changes, tingling and/or numbness, tremor, uncoordinated muscle movements, visual disturbances, weakness.


Inform your doctor before combining Dilaudid with:

anti-emetics such as Compazine and Phenergan; antihistamines such as Benadryl; general anesthetics; other central nervous system depressants such as Nembutal and Restoril; other narcotic analgesics such as Demerol and Percocet; phenothiazines such as Thorazine; sedative/hypnotics such as Valium and Halcion; tranquilizers such as Xanax; tricyclic antidepressants such as Elavil and Tofranil.

Do not drink alcohol during Dilaudid therapy; its effects are increased. 

Special Cautions

Newborns may experience drug dependence if the mother has taken narcotics on a regular basis during pregnancy. If pregnant or planning to become pregnant, inform your doctor immediately. May appear in breast milk; could affect a nursing infant.

Dosage will be prescribed according to individual needs for seniors.

Not generally prescribed for children.

  • May cause drowsiness and impair your ability to drive a car or operate machinery. Do not take part in any activity that requires alertness.
  • If sensitive to or allergic to Dilaudid or other narcotics, should not take.
  • Use with caution if you have: Addison’s disease (adrenal gland failure), enlarged prostate, head injury, low blood pressure, severe liver or kidney disease, underactive thyroid gland, urethral stricture.
  • Use with extreme caution if you have breathing difficulties.
  • Monitor for sudden or severe abdominal conditions; narcotics may mask symptoms.
  • May aggravate existing condition of convulsions.


HealthSurvey.org provides accurate and independent information prescription pills, over-the-counter medicines and natural products. This material is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have questions about  dosage, or Dilaudid side effects, please contact your healthcare provider.