Drugs Information Online
Drugs and diseases reference index

Drugs and diseases reference index

Drugs A-Z List

Diseases & Conditions A-Z List

Herbs & Supplements

Medical Dictionary

Full Article

Popular Drugs

Popular Diseases & Conditions

Drugs reference index «Hydromorphone Hydrochloride»

Hydromorphone Hydrochloride

Pronunciation: (HYE-droe-MOR-fone HYE-droe-KLOR-ide)Class: Opioid analgesic

Trade Names:Dilaudid- Tablets 2 mg- Tablets 4 mg- Tablets 8 mg- Injection 1 mg/mL- Injection 2 mg/mL- Injection 4 mg/mL- Suppositories 3 mg- Oral liquid 1 mg/mL

Trade Names:Dilaudid-HP- Injection 10 mg/mL- Powder for Injection, lyophilized 250 mg

Dilaudid-HP Plus (Canada)Dilaudid Sterile Powder (Canada)Dilaudid-XP (Canada)Hydromorph Contin (Canada)Hydromorphone HP 10 (Canada)Hydromorphone HP 20 (Canada)Hydromorphone HP 50 (Canada)Hydromorphone HP Forte (Canada)PMS-Hydromorphone (Canada)


Relieves pain by stimulating opiate receptors in CNS; also causes respiratory depression, inhibition of cough reflex, peripheral vasodilation, inhibition of intestinal peristalsis, sphincter of Oddi spasm, stimulation of chemoreceptors that cause vomiting, and increased bladder tone.



Rapidly absorbed after oral administration. C max is 5.5 mg, T max is 0.74 h, and AUC is 23.7 ng•h/mL (8 mg tablet).


8% to 19% bound to plasma proteins. Vd at steady state is 302.9 L (IV bolus).


Hydromorphone is metabolized in the liver as glucuronidated conjugate (major metabolite) and 6-hydroxy (minor metabolite).


Systemic clearance is approximately 1.96 L/min. Terminal elimination t ½ is 2.3 h (IV). The mean t ½ is approximately 2.64 h. Hydromorphone is excreted primarily as the glucuronidated conjugate.


Onset of hydromorphone is 15 min (parenterally) and 30 min (oral).


Time to peak effect is 0.5 to 1 h.


Duration is longer than 5 h.

Special Populations

Renal Function Impairment

C max and AUC 0-48 is increased 2-fold in patients with moderate (CrCl 40 to 60 mL/min) and 3-fold in patients with severe (CrCl less than 30 mL/min) renal function impairment.

Hepatic Function Impairment

C max and AUC 0-t is increased 4-fold in patients with moderate (Child-Pugh group B) hepatic function impairment.


Women appear to have a 25% higher C max than men.

Indications and Usage

Relief of moderate to severe pain in opioid-tolerant patients such as because of biliary colic, burns, cancer, MI, renal colic, surgery, or trauma of soft tissue and bone.


Hypersensitivity to similar compounds; depressed ventilatory function; acute asthma; patients not already receiving large amounts of parenteral narcotics; patients with respiratory depression without access to resuscitative equipment; labor.

Dosage and Administration

Adults Oral tablets

PO Usual starting dosage is 2 mg every 4 to 6 h as needed. For more severe pain, give 4 mg every 4 to 6 h. If the pain increases in severity, analgesia is not adequate, or tolerance occurs, a gradual increase in dosage may be necessary.

Oral liquid

Usual dosage is 2.5 to 10 mg (2.5 to 10 mL) every 3 to 6 h, depending on the clinical situation. A gradual increase in dose may be required if analgesia is inadequate, tolerance develops, or pain severity increases.


Suppositories One inserted rectally every 6 to 8 h.


IM / Subcutaneous Usual starting dosage is 1 to 2 mg every 4 to 6 h as needed. Adjust dose according to severity of pain, underlying disease, age, and size of the patient.


IV Administer slowly, over at least 2 to 3 min. A gradual increase in dose may be necessary if analgesia is inadequate, tolerance occurs, or pain severity increases. Note concentration and do not confuse with other standard, less concentrated formulations.

General Advice

  • Reconstitute powder with 25 mL of sterile water for injection immediately prior to use.


Tablets, liquid, injection

Store at 59° to 86°F. Protect from light.


Store in refrigerator between 36° and 46°F.

Drug Interactions

CNS depressants (eg, alcohol, general anesthetics, hypnotics, phenothiazines, sedatives, tranquilizers, tricyclic antidepressants)

Additive CNS and respiratory depression.

Neuromuscular blocking agents

Pharmacologic effects may be enhanced, producing increased respiratory depression.

Opioid agonist/antagonist analgesics (eg, buprenorphine, butorphanol, nalbuphine, pentazocine)

Use with caution; analgesic effect of hydromorphone may be reduced and withdrawal symptoms may be precipitated.

Laboratory Test Interactions

None known.

Adverse Reactions


Bradycardia; cardiac arrest; circulatory depression; faintness; flushing of the face; hypertension; hypotension; orthostatic hypotension; palpitations; peripheral circulatory collapse; shock; syncope; tachycardia.


Agitation; anxiety; disorientation; dizziness; drowsiness; dysphoria; euphoria; fear; hallucination; headache; impaired physical performance; increased intracranial pressure; insomnia; lethargy; light-headedness; mental clouding; mental impairment; mood change (including apprehension, depression, dreams, floating feeling, nervousness); muscle rigidity; muscle tremor; paresthesia; psychic dependence; sedation; tremor; uncoordinated muscle movement; weakness.


Pruritus; rash; sweating; urticaria.


Blurred vision; diplopia; miosis; nystagmus; visual disturbances.


Anorexia; biliary tract spasm; constipation; cramps; diarrhea; dry mouth; ileus; nausea; taste alterations; vomiting.


Antidiuretic effect; spasm of vesical sphincters; ureteral spasm; urinary hesitancy; urinary retention.


Pain at injection site; wheal and flare over the vein with IV injection.


Apnea; bronchospasm; irregular and periodic breathing; laryngospasm; respiratory depression; respiratory arrest.





Hydromorphone injection is available as a highly concentrated solution (10 mg/mL) intended for use in narcotic-tolerant patients. Do not confuse with other standard, less concentrated formulations. Overdose and death could occur.


Hydromorphone is a potent opioid agonist with a high potential for abuse and risk of producing respiratory depression.


During dose titration, closely monitor patients with hepatic or renal function impairment.


Category C .


Excreted in breast milk.


Safety and efficacy not established.


Use with caution, usually starting at the low end of the dosage range, because of the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function, and concomitant diseases or other drug therapy.

Renal Function

May need to reduce dose.

Hepatic Function

May need to reduce dose.

Special Risk Patients

Use with caution in the elderly or debilitated and those with severe impairment of hepatic, pulmonary, or renal function; myxedema or hypothyroidism; adrenocortical insufficiency (eg, Addisons disease); CNS depression or coma; toxic psychosis; circulatory shock; prostatic hypertrophy or urethral stricture; gall bladder disease; pulmonary disease; acute alcoholism; delirium tremens; kyphoscoliosis; or following surgery.

Sulfite Sensitivity

Use with caution in patients known to be sensitive to sulfites, as some products contain bisulfites.

Acute abdominal conditions

Diagnosis and clinical course may be obscured.

Biliary surgery

Use with caution in patients undergoing biliary tract surgery since drug may cause spasm of the sphincter of Oddi.

Head injury and increased intracranial pressure

Cerebrospinal fluid pressure may be markedly exaggerated in the presence of head injury, other intracranial lesions, or preexisting increase in intracranial pressure.


Severe hypotension may occur; orthostatic hypotension may occur in ambulatory patients.

Latex allergy

The 500 mg per 50 mL single-use vial contains rubber latex.

Respiratory depression

Respiratory depression is the chief hazard of hydromorphone injection. It occurs more frequently in elderly patients, in debilitated patients, and in patients suffering from hypoxia or hypercapnia. Even therapeutic doses may dangerously decrease pulmonary ventilation. Use with extreme caution in patients with COPD or cor pulmonale, decreased respiratory reserve, hypoxia, hypercapnia, or preexisting respiratory depression.


Mild to severe seizures and myoclonus may occur.

Tolerance and physical dependence

Both tolerance and physical dependence may occur.



Apnea; bradycardia; cardiopulmonary arrest; circulatory collapse; cold, clammy skin; constricted pupils; death; hypotension; respiratory depression; skeletal muscle flaccidity; somnolence progressing to stupor or coma.

Patient Information

  • Instruct patient to take medication before pain becomes severe.
  • Advise patient to take medication with food or milk to decrease stomach upset.
  • Advise patient that drug may cause drowsiness and to use caution while driving or performing other tasks requiring mental alertness.
  • Advise patient to eat high-fiber diet and to maintain adequate fluid intake. A stool softener or bulk laxative may be recommended to prevent constipation.
  • Instruct patient to avoid intake of alcoholic beverages or other CNS depressants.
  • Instruct patient to discontinue drug and notify health care provider if difficulty in breathing or persistent nausea, vomiting, or constipation occurs.
  • When medication is used for acute pain, caution patient about potential for addiction and explain that medication should be for short-term use only.

Copyright © 2009 Wolters Kluwer Health.

  • Hydromorphone Prescribing Information (FDA)
  • Dilaudid Prescribing Information (FDA)
  • Dilaudid Consumer Overview
  • Dilaudid Detailed Consumer Information (PDR)
  • Dilaudid MedFacts Consumer Leaflet (Wolters Kluwer)
  • Dilaudid-HP Prescribing Information (FDA)
  • Dilaudid-HP MedFacts Consumer Leaflet (Wolters Kluwer)
  • Palladone Prescribing Information (FDA)
  • Palladone Extended-Release Capsules MedFacts Consumer Leaflet (Wolters Kluwer)

See Also...

Comment «Hydromorphone Hydrochloride»