Dilaudid® is a brand name that refers to the medication hydromorphone, a potent opioid painkiller. Usually, this drug is taken to relieve moderate to severe pain. The exact Dilaudid® dosage that is taken by an individual depends on several factors. Level of pain, tolerance to opioids, body weight, and other medications taken can all influence which dose can provide the most benefits with the fewest side effects.
Adults taking this medication for pain typically take a Dilaudid® dosage of 2 milligrams (mg) to 4 mg at first, if they have not already been taking opioid drugs on a regular basis. People that have switched to Dilaudid® from another medication must factor in their previous dose to determine an equivalent amount of this drug needed for pain relief. An opioid conversion chart is often used for this purpose. Generally, 8 mg of hydromorphone taken orally is said to be equivalent to 40 mg to 60 mg of oral morphine, for example.
People changing from another medication to hydromorphone typically lower their initial Dilaudid® dosage that is calculated from this chart. This is done in order to account for the strength of this drug, and to minimize side effects. Normally, a dose is reduced by one-third to two-thirds of the calculated dose. An individual that is estimated to require 6 mg of Dilaudid® would therefore take 2 to 4 mg the first few times, until they know how their pain responds to this dosage.
Some people taking Dilaudid® for acute pain, which arises suddenly, may take another long-acting opioid for chronic pain, which is usually constant. Combining opioids can be dangerous, and even fatal in high doses. Therefore, an individual taking an extended-release drug for chronic pain may take a lower Dilaudid® dosage than would be needed without the long-acting medication. Individuals taking depressant medications for sleep or anxiety may also take a lower Dilaudid® dosage for similar reasons.
At times, this drug may be given as an injection, for intravenous (IV) usage. Typically, the IV Dilaudid® dosage that is used is lower than an oral dose. The IV form of this medication is roughly four times as strong as when it is taken by mouth. An individual that normally takes 8 mg of Dilaudid® orally would therefore only take 1.5 mg to 2 mg of this drug by IV. Even lower doses may be used in order to avoid dangerous side effects, particularly in elderly people.