Hydromorph Contin relieves pain by modifying the manner in which the brain and nervous system react to pain, states MedlinePlus. Hydromorphone, the drug's generic name, is an opiate analgesic, a narcotic medication that doctors prescribe for patients suffering severe pain who need continuous, long-term relief and cannot take alternative medications.
Hydromorph Contin can be addictive, and it has serious side effects, such as impaired breathing, chest pain and seizures, notes MedlinePlus. Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or other lung diseases need to tell their doctor before taking Hydromorph Contin. Using street drugs, drinking alcohol or taking medications that have alcohol as an ingredient while using hydromorphone heightens the risk of experiencing potentially deadly side effects. Other serious side effects include fainting, facial swelling and hives.