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Hydromorphone overdose

Definition

Hydromorphone is a prescription medicine used to relieve severe pain. Hydromorphone overdose occurs when someone accidentally or intentionally takes more than the normal or recommended amount of this medication.

This is for information only and not for use in the treatment or management of an actual poison exposure. If you have an exposure, you should call your local emergency number (such as 911) or the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.

Alternative Names

Dilaudid overdose; Palladone overdose

Poisonous Ingredient

Hydromorphone is a type of morphine. Hydromorphone is an opioid narcotic, which means it is an extremely powerful drug that can cause very deep sleep.

Patients who are prescribed hydromorphone for pain should not drink alcohol. Combining alcohol with this drug increases the chance for dangerous side effects and overdose symptoms.

Where Found

  • Dilaudid
  • Hydrostat

Note: This list may not be all-inclusive.

Symptoms

Warning: A severe overdose of hydromorphone can cause death.

Home Treatment

This can be a serious overdose. Seek immediate medical help.

Before Calling Emergency

Determine the following information:

  • Patient's age, weight, and condition
  • Name of the product (ingredients and strengths, if known)
  • Time it was swallowed
  • Amount swallowed
  • If the medication was prescribed for the patient

Poison Control, or a local emergency number

The National Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) can be called from anywhere in the United States. This national hotline number will let you talk to experts in poisoning. They will give you further instructions.

This is a free and confidential service. All local poison control centers in the United States use this national number. You should call if you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention. It does NOT need to be an emergency. You can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

See: Poison control center - emergency number

What to expect at the emergency room

The health care provider will measure and monitor the patient's vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. Symptoms are treated as appropriate.

The patient may receive:

  • Activated charcoal
  • Breathing tube
  • Fluids through a vein (by IV)
  • Laxative
  • Medicine (narcotic antagonist) to reverse the effect of the hydromorphone
  • Tube from the mouth into the stomach to empty the stomach (gastric lavage)

Expectations (prognosis)

Patients who quickly receive medicine to reverse the effect of hydromorphone can recover within 1 to 4 hours.

References

Yip L, Megarbane B, Borron SW. Opioids. In: Shannon MW, Borron SW, Burns MJ, eds. Haddad and Winchester's Clinical Management of Poisoning and Drug Overdose. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 33.


Review Date: 2/6/2012
Reviewed By: Eric Perez, MD, St. Luke's / Roosevelt Hospital Center, NY, NY, and Pegasus Emergency Group (Meadowlands and Hunterdon Medical Centers), NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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