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  • Mixing Dilaudid (Hydromorphone) & Alcohol | Effects & Dangers

    Mixing Dilaudid (Hydromorphone) & Alcohol | Effects & Dangers

    Hydromorphone (brand names Dilaudid and Exalgo) is a prescription opioid painkiller. This pain reliever consists of hydromorphone hydrochloride which affects the receptors in the body’s central nervous system (CNS). 

    Dilaudid should never be combined with alcohol. Alcohol is also a depressant and serious respiratory depression can occur due to the extreme sedation caused by alcohol and opioids. 

    Effects & Dangers Of Mixing Dilaudid & Alcohol

    Negative drug interactions can occur when combining alcohol with Dilaudid. In fact, no pain medication should ever be mixed with alcohol.

    Increased Effects Of Sedation 

    When alcohol and an opioid-like Dilaudid are combined, you’ll likely become heavily sedated. This can result in shallow breathing, causing respiratory depression. 

    Because of the sedative effects of Dilaudid and alcohol, many experience fatal overdoses due to the fact that their perception of how much drugs or alcohol they’ve taken can vary greatly. 

    Overdose Symptoms

    In addition to this, those abusing Dilaudid and alcohol may also experience overdose symptoms such as:

    • dizziness
    • pinpoint pupils
    • cold and clammy skin
    • sleepiness
    • slow heart rate
    • low blood pressure
    • slowed breathing
    • coma

    Withdrawal Symptoms

    Those abusing alcohol and Dilaudid may suffer from severe withdrawal symptoms after developing a physical dependence to each substance. Withdrawal symptoms may include:

    • sweating shivering
    • loss of appetite
    • vomiting
    • body aches
    • nausea

    To help eliminate and reduce cravings, doctors may use opioid antagonists and agonists as well as buprenorphine, methadone, or naltrexone to address dependence. 

    Dilaudid Abuse

    Dilaudid is prescribed to patients when other medications fail to give you pain relief. Dilaudid is an opioid analgesic that is known to help with severe pain.

    Hydromorphone is part of a class of medications known as opiates or narcotics. 

    Because of the calming and euphoric nature of Dilaudid, it can be highly addictive. Other drugs which have similar effects include oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine. 

    Common Side Effects

    Some of the short-term side effects of hydromorphone include:

    • drowsiness
    • dry mouth
    • headache
    • itching
    • constipation
    • muscle pain
    • lightheadedness
    • depression
    • anxiety 

    Serious Side Effects

    Some of the serious side effects of Dilaudid that you may experience can include:

    • difficulty breathing
    • chest pain
    • decreased sexual desire
    • rash
    • swelling
    • fainting
    • seizures
    • nausea and vomiting
    • agitation
    • hallucinations

    Alcohol Abuse

    Drinking alcohol, especially in excessive amounts, can cause serious sedative effects. This is why alcohol is not to be combined with prescription drugs like Dilaudid.  

    Short-Term Side Effects

    Short-term side effects of alcohol can include mild to dangerous issues. For instance, someone engaging in excessive alcohol consumption such as binge drinking or heavy drinking can experience accidents such as:

    • falls
    • drownings
    • motor vehicle crashes
    • homicide
    • suicide
    • alcohol poisoning
    • burns

    In addition to this, other effects you may experience include:

    • slowed breathing
    • black outs
    • blood pressure fluctuations
    • impaired motor functions
    • mood changes
    • vision impairment
    • slurred speech
    • lack of coordination

    Long-Term Side Effects

    ​​​​Long-term side effects from drinking alcohol include:

    • liver diseases such as cirrhosis or fatty liver disease
    • brain damage
    • cancer
    • cardiomyopathy
    • pancreatitis
    • high blood pressure
    • stroke
    • mood changes
    • mental health problems such as anxiety
    • memory problems
    • weakened immune system

    Treatment For Alcohol & Drug Abuse

    Addiction treatment for both alcohol and opioid abuse is available in an inpatient or outpatient setting. Treatment options for polydrug use may include detox programs, medication-assisted treatment, support groups, and other recovery services.

    If you or a loved one needs help, please contact our hotline to learn about our substance abuse treatment centers.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2023 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.

    Food and Drug Administration - Dilaudid
    National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism - Drinking Levels Defined
    National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus - Hydromorphone
    National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus - Hydromorphone Overdose
    National Library of Medicine: PubMed - Risks, Management, and Monitoring of Combination Opioid, Benzodiazepines, and/or Alcohol Use

    Medically Reviewed by
    Kimberly Langdon M.D.
    on May 21, 2022
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