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Dilaudid and Percocet: Differences between these Opioid Analgesics


Dilaudid and Percocet are both Potent prescription opioid drugs. Opioids are a group of pain-reducing solid medications, which also include morphine. These medications reduce the strength of pain signals that reach the brain and affect your emotional response to pain.

Dilaudid is a brand drug for the generic medicine hydromorphone hydrochloride. On the other hand, Percocet is also a brand drug with the active generic drug oxycodone. Dilaudid and Percocet are opioid analgesics used to control moderate to severe pain. But, one significant difference between both these drugs is that Percocet contains a pain reliever and fever reducer and is used for an extended period. Dilaudid is available in injectable and oral form, and Percocet is only available in oral form.

Dilaudid: What you Need to Know

Dilaudid is a potent opioid pain medication that is sometimes called a narcotic. It helps to reduce moderate to severe pain. It is a potent prescription drug that usually manages severe pain. Doctors typically prescribe for the pain that does not fade away with other non-opioid drugs.

Opioid drugs can give you a risk of overdose or addiction; even take it at the prescribed amount. So, make sure you take it only when other non-opioid pain drugs do not work well. It is not for the use of ‘as needed’ purposes. People usually use it to treat their chronic pain or pain due to cancer.

Dilaudid pain killer is a potent drug sold under the generic name hydromorphone. It helps mitigate moderate to severe pain that works in the patient’s brain to change how your body responds to the pain. Hydromorphone has a high risk of addiction so take it only under the expert’s supervision.

Overview of Percocet

Percocet is an opioid pain reliever that helps relieve moderate to severe pain. It is a potent drug that belongs to the family of opioid medication. It is a brand drug with a combination of oxycodone and acetaminophen. Oxycodone is a powerful opioid used to relieve pain, and acetaminophen is a less potent fever reducer drug.

Percocet is a narcotic, so it can give the risk of misuse, addiction, and abuse even at the recommended dose. So, it is highly recommended to take it only under the expert’s supervision.

Due to the high addiction of this drug, even at the recommended dose, pharmacists usually prescribe it such pain which does not fade away with other medication. It is only recommended when the pain is intolerable and does not respond to other drugs.

Similarities and differences between Dilaudid and Percocet

Dilaudid and Percocet are somewhat similar. Both can be given in the tablet form and are available as immediate-release forms. This form is given to those who take opioids for the long term and need a higher, controlled dose of the medicine to be comfortable.

Dilaudid and other versions of hydromorphone are more potent drugs than Percocet. They are often used for severe pain caused due to surgery, cancer, or broken bones. WHO has a three-step ladder to treat cancer pain, and the first step is non-opioid analgesic drugs. These medicines are available without any prescription and include ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and aspirin.

The second step is mild opioids, such as codeine, when patients do not get relief from over-the-counter drugs. The third step is a potent opioid such as hydromorphone and oxycodone. The World Health Organization also advises schedule dosing instead of giving the medications only as needed for severe pain.

How strong is Dilaudid compared to Percocet for pain treatment?

Percocet is considered weaker than Dilaudid as it is prescribed for more minor painful surgeries or injuries. On the other hand, Dilaudid is recommended for severe chronic pain. Percocet is a commonly recommended narcotic drug and has a combination of two active opioid pain medications: oxycodone and acetaminophen.

The most commonly recommended Percocet pill contains 5 mg of oxycodone and 325 mg of acetaminophen, but it is also available in other strengths. A health care professional usually recommends it after tooth removal, surgery, or pain due to injury. They may prescribe Dilaudid and Percocet drug for a short duration till the pain reduces. While many patients face no problem while taking Percocet, there is a risk for overdose and misuse, whether by careless use or by accident.

If you are using Percocet or Dilaudid for recreational use and have become dependent, you can consult your pharmacist to detox the medication.

What are the immediate and long-term effects of Dilaudid use?

Dilaudid is a potent opioid analgesic that is usually prescribed to relieve severe pain. It is available in hospitals as an injectable form or may be specified in either tablet form or oral solution. Its frequent use is reserved for patients suffering from severe pain that cannot be treated with other drugs.

Hydromorphone has a painkilling potency of two to eight times greater than morphine, with higher sedative properties and a shorter duration of action. It is a schedule II drug under the controlled substance act, with approved medical use to relieve pain, but it has a high potential for dependence and abuse.

Short duration effects

People are addicted or abused to hydromorphone tablets by crushing, snorting, ingesting, or dissolving it into a solution that may be then injected. Those who are addicted to Dilaudid do so to get desirable short-duration effects. Its high can produce euphoric feelings, sedation, relaxation sensation, and reduced anxiety.

Lond duration effects

Taking Dilaudid for the long term may result in many severe psychological and physical health issues and legal and social problems in an individual’s life. Some of the recognized prolonged effects of abusing Dilaudid may include

  • Track marks on legal and arms
  • disease and infection from needle sharing
  • depression and anxiety
  • frequent mood changes
  • impaired relationships
  • reckless behavior
  • increased legal issues
  • possibility of injury while intoxicated
  • the eventual transition to other drugs such as heroin
  • poverty or financial problems due to drug use

Prescription opioid drug abusers are more likely to use heroin at some point. 

Dosing for Dilaudid and Percocet

Percocet dosing depends on the patient’s need, as well as which form of the medication they are using. At the same time, the side of Dilaudid also depends on its form. The immediate-release forms of both drugs are usually recommended every four to six hours. The strength of Percocet or Dilaudid can be increased gradually if any individual develops the tolerance for the medication or if the severity of the pain increases.

The dose totally depends on the cause of the pain and will be determined by your health care professional. If you have taken one of these medicines for a long duration and your doses are increased, your pharmacist may change your prescription to the extended form of the drug.

What are the side effects of Dilaudid and Percocet?

The most common side effects of Percocet and Dilaudid are the same. Dilaudid and Percocet are very potent medicine, so their side effects can be more intense. The side of Dilaudid and Percocet drugs may include shallow breathing, constipation, drowsiness, nausea, dizziness, headache, vomiting, and mood changes.

You may also get symptoms of lethargy, insomnia, dry mouth, itching, skin rash, or impairment of motor skills. Some rare side effects may include respiratory depression, hypertension reaction, or feeling like you may pass out or have low blood pressure.

Some other symptoms of Dilaudid and Percocet may include

  • hallucination or seizures
  • nervousness, painful urination, or confusion
  • depression, rapid heart rate, leading to heart failure
  • uncontrolled muscle movement

Call for emergency help when you experience any of these side effects

Some less common side effects of Dilaudid and Percocet include heart palpitation, skin rashes, or respiratory complications.

  • As mentioned before, these drugs can cause severe constipation, which can be fatal. It is also true for Dilaudid. It is the primary reason why the extended-form of these drugs is reserved for the patients who have taken it for a prolonged time and need an increased dose.
  • Avoid driving if you are taking Dilaudid and Percocet. These medicines can impair your thinking and reactions that can affect your driving or using machinery. They can also affect your physical skills and judgment.
  • If you take these for several weeks or months, there is a risk of becoming addicted to the medicine. Prolonged usage means your body can adjust to the drug if you suddenly quit taking it. You may experience fatal withdrawal symptoms when you abruptly discontinue taking these drugs. Consult your pharmacist before you stop taking them. They can help you to taper off the medication slowly, which reduces the risk of withdrawal.
  • Dilaudid and Percocet can also lead to the risk of overdose, and it is very dangerous for children. So, always keep your drugs away from the reach of children in your house. Because Dilaudid is so potent, it could be fatal if a child takes just one pill of this drug.

What is the difference between Dilaudid and Tramadol?

Tramadol is a potent drug that treats moderate to severe pain. It works well for severe pain. However, it is a little weaker than other potent opioids such as Dilaudid. But it can still be addictive. On the same side, Dilaudid is a powerful pain reliever that treats moderate to severe pain and has a significant risk for overdose and abuse.

Tramadol relieves moderate to severe pain and has been shown to work and other pain medications. As compared to other opioids, it provides unique pain relief and effects on the patient’s mood when taken regularly and exactly as prescribed. It has a low chance of causing breathing difficulties compared to other opioids. Tramadol does not cause constipation as other pain medicines. Staying hydrated can help to treat this problem. On the other hand, Dilaudid works faster and better relieves pain than morphine. It is available in a cheap generic version.

People think that Tramadol is weaker than other opioid pain medicine and can cause an upset stomach. Like other pain medicines, it also has a high risk of abuse and addiction. The extended form of this drug should be used only for severe pain that requires around-the-clock treatment.

Constipation is the common side effect of Dilaudid and may require the use of stool softeners. It is fatal when combined with muscle relaxants, alcohol, or other drugs that may slow your breathing.

How the strength of Dilaudid does is compared to hydrocodone?

Dosage for hydrocodone

The initial recommended dose for adults is 10 mg orally every 12 hours as needed to manage pain. You can increase the amount after every three to seven days by 10 mg every 12 hours as is necessary to control pain. Make sure you swallow the whole tablet without crushing, chewing, or breaking the pill unless your pharmacist recommends doing so.

Dosage of Dilaudid

Immediate-release form

The initial recommended dose is two to four tablets orally every four to six hours as needed to manage pain. You can increase the amount to 8 mg after careful observation and if it is necessary to control pain.

Injection form

Your health care provider may give you 1 to 2 mg intramuscularly or subcutaneously every two to three hours as needed. They may provide 0.2 to 1mg intravenously over two to three minutes every two to three hours as is necessary to manage pain.

Oral solution

You can take 2.5 to 10 mg every three to six hours as needed to manage pain.

It is unknown if Dilaudid is safe and effective for children. So, it is advised not to give this drug to your child unless it is prescribed.

How does Dilaudid help with migraine?

According to some experts, the drug prochlorperazine is more effective than the potent opioid drug Dilaudid to treat patients with acute migraine. Acute migraine is an intense headache that can be accompanied by sensitivity to light and visual disturbance and sound. It is a disabling condition that occurs in about 1.2 million people in the USA every year.

The opioid drug Dilaudid is given to about 25 percent of patients in the emergency department for acute migraine. However, it is well known that the use of this prescription opioid can result in severe risk of abuse, addiction, and overdose and can adversely impact the treatment of migraine.

A study in New York City evaluated that about 126 patients suffering from acute migraine were treated in the emergency department. They were given either diphenhydramine, prochlorperazine, or Dilaudid. Patients assessed sustained headache relief, defined as a reduction in the severity of mild or no headache within two hours of the treatment.

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