Hydromorphone is an opioid pain medication, according to the National Institutes of Health. This medication is usually only prescribed to long-term pain-treatment patients. The drug is sometimes administered under the brand names Dilaudid or Exalgo and is also known as dihydromorphinone.
Because Hydromorphone is an opioid, it relieves pain by acting on opioid receptors in the body, explains the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Hydromorphone attaches to the opioid receptors and reduces their ability to send pain-signals to the brain. Hydromorphone does not actually stop or prevent pain, but restricts the brain's ability to perceive pain.
Hydromorphone is a narcotic and is only available with a prescription, explains the National Institutes of Health. It is often administered as a tablet, an extended-release tablet, or a liquid. Hydromorphone is an addictive substance and has several risks. These risks include difficulty breathing, seizures and fainting. It can cause several side effects, such as nausea, difficulty sleeping, stomach pain, anxiety and itching.
Hydromorphone can also cause an overdose, warns the NIH. Overdose is extremely dangerous and can result in death. In spite of these risks, the drug is often abused because it sometimes produces a feeling of euphoria, notes the National Institute on Drug Abuse.