How Long Does Dilaudid (Hydromorphone) Stay in Your System?

Hydromorphone Effects Depends on Many Variables

Diluadid pills
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Dilaudid (hydromorphone) is prescribed to relieve pain. It is an opiate analgesic and works by changing the way the brain and nervous system respond to pain. Knowing how long Dilaudid remains in your system may be helpful in avoiding an overdose of the medication by taking too much, too soon. Other brand names for Dilaudid include Hydrostat and Palladone.

How Long Dilaudid Affects Your System

When hydromorphone is taken orally, it reaches its peak effect in 30 minutes to an hour. The elimination half-life of oral hydromorphone is about 4 hours.

Dilaudid can cause serious or life-threatening breathing problems, especially during the first two days of taking the medication or if your doctor increases the dosage. You should be carefully monitored when you start taking this medication.

You must not drink alcohol while using Dilaudid. Other medications can affect how Dilaudid works in your system. It is very important to discuss all other prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and herbs with your doctor or pharmacist so they can advise you and adjust your prescriptions properly for safety.

Specific medications to be aware of interactions with hydromorphone include MAO inhibitors, blood pressure medicine, diuretics (water pills), medicine for depression, phenothiazine, and anything that makes you sleepy. It also can have interactions with St. John's wort and tryptophan.

Also be aware that Dilaudid can make you drowsy. Until you know how it affects you, it is safer to not drive or operate heavy machinery.

But it is also critical to continue to take Dilaudid on the schedule provided by your doctor. If you suddenly stop taking it after you have been taking it for several days you are likely to go through withdrawal, which can be dangerous. Removing it from your system can cause a severe reaction. Only reduce using Dilaudid when advised to do so by your doctor and follow the schedule provided.

Avoiding a Dilaudid Overdose

An overdose of Dilaudid can cause serious injury or be fatal. One problem to avoid that can lead to an overdose is crushing the capsule, which causes too much medication to be released all at once. Also be careful with timing if you missed a dose, as it can be dangerous to take two doses close together.

Some of the symptoms of a Dilaudid overdose include:

If if you think someone has taken an overdose of hydromorphone, call 9-1-1 immediately. If contacted quickly enough, first-responders should be able to revive the victim with Narcan.

How Long Can Dilaudid (Hydromorphone) Stays in Your System

Dilaudid (hydromorphone) is screened for in urine drug screens. If you have been prescribed Dilaudid but need to take a urine drug test for employment or other purposes, tell the testing lab that you are taking this prescription so they will be able to interpret the test appropriately. The drug is still being eliminated through the urine over the course of 2 to 3 days.

View Article Sources
  • Approximate Detection Times. Drugs of Abuse: Mayo Medical Laboratories.
  • Hydromorphone MedlinePlus.
  • Toxicology Screen: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. NIH MedlinepPus. Updated 1/26/2015.