What Is Hydromorphone?

There are many different opioids used to treat pain. The exact opioid a physician prescribes depends on the patient’s specific needs, including the duration needed, the severity of the pain, other medications the patient may be taking, and other individual factors. Today, let’s talk about hydromorphone, a prescription opioid with high addiction potential.

What is hydromorphone and how is it classified?

Hydromorphone is a semi-synthetic opioid that is commonly prescribed to treat pain. Specifically, it is used to treat severe pain for extended periods of time, such as during a patient’s recovery from an injury, and where other types of pain medications are not an option. For example, it may be prescribed to treat pain in patients who have developed a tolerance to opioids.

Hydromorphone comes in several forms, including oral tablets, oral liquid, subcutaneously (under the skin), or through an IV.

Is hydromorphone a narcotic?

Yes, this drug is a narcotic. It is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance, which means that it has a high potential for abuse and addiction.

Can hydromorphone cause addiction?

As part of the opioid family, hydromorphone can cause addiction when it is not used as directed by the prescribing physician. This may take the form of using more of the drug than instructed at one time, or at frequent intervals throughout the day.

In addition to the high potential for addiction, misusing hydromorphone can cause a potentially fatal overdose, so it’s important to use this drug exactly as prescribed to avoid addiction or overdose.

What’s a normal dosage?

This drug is most often given as extended-release tablets. Your doctor may gradually increase the dose as needed to effectively manage pain, then gradually decrease the dose to prevent withdrawal symptoms. In tablet form, doses range from 2 – 4 mg per pill, usually taken every 4 – 6 hours.

How long can it stay in your body?

This drug is designed to stay in your system for long-term pain management, so it can take up to two days for it to clear out of your body.

Does hydromorphone show on a drug test?

Hydromorphone can show on drug tests that include ‘expanded opiates’ panels.


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Whether you have developed an addiction to hydromorphone or another opioid, Elite Home Detox can help you make a full and lasting recovery. We bring a customized detox program directly to your home, saving you the time and cost of traditional rehab programs while providing the dedicated, tailored care you need. Give us a call with any questions about our in-home programs, or book an appointment using the button below.

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