Two potent prescription opioids that manage pain, Dilaudid and oxycodone, have made waves in various communities. On the one end, Dilaudid and oxycodone have successfully managed chronic, severe pain for those in the chronic pain community. However, on the other end, Dilaudid and oxycodone are notorious for their ability to cause dependence and addiction in the drug abuse community.
These are very different realities for these two drugs, but it may leave you wondering – what are their similarities, differences, and potency? What makes them different? We’ll discuss all of that and more below.
Dilaudid and Oxycodone Use Statistics in the United States
Although the rate of prescription opioid use has significantly dropped in the past several years due to the opioid crisis, some might argue that too many opioids are still being prescribed. For the first time in U.S. history, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data showing that more than 100,000 people lost their lives because of drug overdoses. A staggering 80,000 of those deaths were caused by opioids. Although fentanyl was the majority of these overdose deaths, data showed that prescription opioid deaths with Dilaudid and oxycodone also rose.
Prescription opioid overdose deaths rose from 3,442 in 1999 to 17,029 in 2017. These figures gradually decreased as the government implemented more restrictions on how doctors prescribe these drugs. Fortunately, it has impacted these deaths, but Dilaudid and oxycodone abuse remains. Below, we’ll delve into the differences between these two prescription medications.
Effects of Dilaudid vs. Oxycodone
The National Center for Health Statistics survey found that around 20.4 percent of adults in the United States battle chronic pain. Another 7.4 percent of those surveyed admitted that chronic pain limited life or work activities in the previous three months. Chronic pain is often overlooked, but when it limits you from participating in society and leading a normal life, it’s common to turn to a doctor for help. At first, they’ll start you on a regimen of over-the-counter (OTC) painkillers like Tylenol and suggest physical therapy. However, if that doesn’t help, they could consider something more potent, like Dilaudid or oxycodone.
There are various levels before considering prescription narcotics to manage pain. The first level is over-the-counter pain medication, followed by oxycodone. When your doctor has exhausted all other resources, the final level is to consider hydromorphone, Dilaudid’s active ingredient. Dilaudid is incredibly potent and manages pain much faster than morphine. It’s routinely prescribed after a significant injury or a major operation.
Dilaudid and oxycodone are effective means of reducing pain. However, which medication is appropriate? It’s a challenging decision your doctor must make. The wrong decision can have life-altering consequences, especially if the individual begins to misuse or abuse the drug. Although both are adequate means to manage pain, these drugs can cause dependence and addiction, especially if abused. You should only take these drugs with a doctor’s blessing. Although they’re both considered opioids and have similar side effects, what are their primary differences?
Both drugs were synthesized to treat pain that OTC medication like Tylenol or Advil cannot manage. Dilaudid and oxycodone are potent opioids. However, Dilaudid is considered the more powerful of the two, despite both producing similar side effects. Here is a list of side effects that Dilaudid and oxycodone share:
- Dry mouth
- Slowed breathing
Oxycodone is believed to be more likely to cause side effects like rashes, whereas Dilaudid is known to make the person feel sweaty and flushed after use.
Dilaudid vs. Oxycodone: Which Is More Addictive?
Both drugs are extremely addictive. If prescribed this drug for a prolonged period to manage chronic pain, you’re at risk of becoming dependent on the medication, even if used as prescribed. However, even though Dilaudid is much stronger, it doesn’t mean it’s more addictive than oxycodone. Oxycodone and Dilaudid work similarly by blocking pain receptors in the brain, which can lead to euphoria.
If you’re prescribed the medication, you shouldn’t stop taking it without receiving approval from your doctor. Your health is in their best interest, and abrupt cessation of either drug can result in severe withdrawal symptoms. Although opioid withdrawal is not considered life-threatening, especially when compared to other prescription medications like benzodiazepines, it’s a tormenting process that can make you have suicidal thoughts. For that reason, speak to your doctor first before stopping.
The most common Dilaudid and oxycodone withdrawal symptoms include the following:
- Extreme fatigue
- Watery eyes
- Runny nose
- Body aches
Your doctor will want to wean you off or taper your use of these medications. This is to prevent severe symptoms from occurring. If you’ve been abusing either of these drugs for reasons other than to manage pain, they might consider you a prime candidate for a treatment program that helps you better understand addiction. The first step in this process is medical detox, an extremely beneficial step that mitigates the severity of the symptoms you’ll face.
Dilaudid vs. Oxycodone: Which Is More Effective for Pain?
Dilaudid is considered the more effective of the two to manage pain when it comes to managing pain. A dose of Dilaudid is stronger than an equivalent dose of oxycodone, meaning the user needs less for relief. However, Dilaudid is only prescribed when an individual has become opioid-tolerant and no other medication effectively manages their pain. Hydromorphone is considered a stronger medication than morphine, and it’s faster-acting compared to other pain medications, meaning there could be a higher abuse potential than with oxycodone.
Dilaudid also has fewer side effects than oxycodone, such as rashes. While oxycodone works well for breakthrough pain or to be taken as needed, only longer-lasting versions of the drug, like OxyContin, which is extremely addictive, can provide around-the-clock pain management. Dilaudid and oxycodone can cause severe constipation, and they share drowsiness and dizziness as two of the most common side effects. Long-term use of both drugs can lead to dependence and addiction. Only your doctor can determine which one will be more effective for your pain.
Unfortunately, even when used correctly, Dilaudid or oxycodone can lead to tolerance, dependence, and even addiction. If you reach a point where you’re not sure where to turn, professional addiction treatment might be your best option before you spiral even further, causing you to start using illicit street drugs like heroin or fentanyl.
Treating Dilaudid or Oxycodone Addiction
Millions of prescriptions are written each year for both of these drugs. While a vast majority of users will be unaffected by use, many will resort to taking these drugs for recreational purposes. Oxycodone is abused more than Dilaudid, and nearly four million people misused an oxycodone product in 2016. The United States Department of Justice found that more than 13 million people abuse oxycodone, even children as young as 12 years old. Fewer individuals abuse Dilaudid because it is less frequently prescribed, but the reason it’s abused is the same.
For that reason, treating Dilaudid and oxycodone addiction is vital. Dependency on opioid painkillers can lead to recreational use, paving the way for physical and psychological dependence—addiction treatment for Dilaudid vs. Oxycodone will follow a similar plan. The first step is a safe, medically supervised detox program to deliver the user safely to the other side. Doctors will provide medication and support for up to seven days that help the user overcome the worst of the acute withdrawal phase. It’s a challenging period that shouldn’t be done alone. Withdrawal symptoms can become so severe you could give in to your desire to use, which could lead to a fatal overdose. It’s important to seek professional help.
Once you’re medically cleared, you’ll move into the next phase of the program, which focuses on the psychological aspects of addiction. Specialists will unveil the root causes of your addiction and help you understand your urge to abuse the drug(s) in the first place. This program can last for up to 90 days or longer in the case of severe addiction. The supportive and structured environment is a must and will help you reach your unique goals essential for life.