Hydromorphone belongs to a class of drugs called “opioids,” which includes morphine. It has an analgesic potency of two to eight times that of morphine, but has a shorter duration of action and greater sedative properties.
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Hydromorphone comes in: tablets, rectal suppositories, oral solutions, and injectable formulations.
Methods of abuse:
Users may abuse hydromorphone tablets by ingesting them. Injectable solutions, as well as tablets that have been crushed and dissolved in a solution may be injected as a substitute for heroin.
Effect on body:
Hydromorphone may cause: constipation, pupillary constriction, urinary retention, nausea, vomiting, respiratory depression, dizziness, impaired coordination, loss of appetite, rash, slow or rapid heartbeat, and changes in blood pressure.
Effect on mind:
When used as a drug of abuse, and not under a doctor’s supervision, hydromorphone is taken to produce feelings of euphoria, relaxation, sedation, and reduced anxiety. It may also cause mental clouding, changes in mood, nervousness, and restlessness. It works centrally (in the brain) to reduce pain and suppress cough. Hydromorphone use is associated with both physiological and psychological dependence.
Drugs causing similar effects:
Drugs that have similar effects include: heroin, morphine, hydrocodone, fentanyl, and oxycodone.
Acute overdose of hydromorphone can produce: severe respiratory depression, drowsiness progressing to stupor or coma, lack of skeletal muscle tone, cold and clammy skin, constricted pupils, and reduction in blood pressure and heart rate. Severe overdose may result in death due to respiratory depression.