Just how effective are hydromorphone drugs at controlling pain? Do the benefits of these drugs outweigh the dangers?
First synthesized and researched in Germany in 1924, hydromorphone was created in hopes of developing a superior chronic pain reliever with minimal side effects. Hydromorphone made its public debut in 1926, under the popular brand name Dilaudid.
The United States’ Controlled Substance act of 1970 listed all hydromorphone drugs, along with many other opioid analgesics, as Schedule II narcotics.
Hydromorphone drugs are generally prescribed for treating painful conditions, such as cancer, individuals suffering from arthritis, and those recovering from major surgeries such as joint replacement.
These drugs have also proven to be very useful in treating extreme causes of dry cough, though many physician have grown weary of prescribing hydromorphone drugs to non-chronic conditions.
More and more often, hydromorphone drugs are being used to relieve pain quickly in emergency situations, such as treating a broken limb or kidney stone. The effectiveness of hydromorphone to treat on-the-spot pain is thought to currently outweigh that of morphine.
Like most powerful opioid analgesics, hydromorphone drugs offer a wide variety of frightening side effects, including: itching of the skin, dizziness, confusion, paranoia, dimness in vision, sedation, periods of “black out”, hallucination, inability to concentrate, mood swings, insomnia, a false sense of well-being, emotional instability, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, constipation, dry mouth, loss of appetite, increase in appetite, hiccups, abdominal pain, loss of sexual drive, nervousness, sweating, enlarged prostate gland, respiratory depression, slow and shallow breathing, and weak pulse.
In high doses, especially in individuals lacking a tolerance to strong opioid analgesics, or in the event of an overdose, side effects include: dilated pupils, weak heart rate, inability to locate pulse, shallow and labored breathing, and cold and clammy skin.
As with all opioid narcotic medications, use of hydromorphone drugs may rather easily lead to both physical and psychological addiction. Physicians believe that addiction can begin with as little as one to two weeks of use of hydromorphone drugs. Even patients following their prescriber’s dosing instructions are at risk of developing an addiction and dependency to these extremely potent drugs.
Symptoms of hydromorphone withdrawal include: seizure, paranoia, tremors, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, “creepy crawly” sensation in limbs, heavy sweating, loss of appetite, mood swings, irrational thoughts and behaviors, insomnia, depression, fever, flu-like symptoms, muscle and skeletal pain, “rebound” pain, and even thoughts of suicide.
The strength and potential for addiction of hydromorphone drugs leads many blindly into addiction. Withdrawal symptoms are unpleasant and even life-threatening to users, thus leading to crimes such as theft, robbery, forgery, and prescription fraud.
The majority of general practitioners are no long willing to prescribe hydromorphone drugs. Chronic pain sufferers are typically now required to visit a Pain Management Specialist in order to obtain of prescription of a Schedule II narcotic.
Addicts and dealers are known to “doctor shop”, which is visiting numerous physicians until one agrees to prescribe their desired drug, in order to obtain prescriptions of hydromorphone drugs. Some users will even send a family member or friend with a chronic condition to obtain the prescription on their behalf.
Hydromorphone drugs are currently available on the United States market in the following forms: tablets, capsules, modified release capsules, controlled release tablets, suppository, powder for injection, oral liquid, cough syrup, transdermal patch, and injection.
Now that you have learned of the various possible outcomes of using powerful opioid analgesic such as hydromorphone medications, do you feel the benefits of these drugs for chronic pain patients outweigh the misery of addiction, dependence, and death created by narcotic drugs?