Medically Reviewed

How Long Does Dilaudid Stay in Your System?

- 10 sections

Medically Reviewed: September 25, 2019

Medical Reviewer

Chief Editor


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

What is Dilaudid?

Dilaudid is the brand name for hydromorphone, a powerful opioid medication that is used to treat severe acute or chronic pain. In addition to its use as an analgesic pain reliever, Dilaudid is also abused recreationally as it produces effects similar to other opioids. The medication is classified as a Schedule II Controlled Substance by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) due to its significant potential for abuse and dependence.

Dilaudid comes in the form of an oral tablet or a liquid injection. It is also available in immediate-release or extended-release formulas. How long Dilaudid stays in your system depends heavily on which type of Dilaudid you’ve taken, how long you’ve been taking it, and how quickly your body metabolizes it.

How Long Do the Effects of Dilaudid Last?

How long the effects of Dilaudid last depend on the way in which it was taken.

Immediate-release Dilaudid tablets take effect within 30 minutes after consumption and reach peak effectiveness within one hour. The effects can last between three and four hours.

Extended-release oral tablets take effect after about one hour and reach peak effects after 6-9 hours. The effects can last a total of about 13 hours.

Finally, injecting Dilaudid will produce effects almost instantly. Effects peak after about 20 minutes and can last up to 19 hours.

Common side effects of Dilaudid are:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Sweating
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Flushing
  • Itching
  • Mood swings
  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Slowed or shallow breathing
  • Confusion or disorientation

How Long Does Dilaudid Stay in Your System?

Dilaudid is primarily metabolized in the liver and eliminated from the body through urine. How quickly it is metabolized depends on the drug’s half-life and your personal health. A half-life describes how long it takes the body to metabolize and eliminate half of a single dose of a substance.

The half-lives of Dilaudid are 2-3 hours for immediate release and 8-5 hours for extended-release formulations. It takes 4-5 half-lives for the body to eliminate a drug completely, so immediate-release Dilaudid can stay in your system for around 15 hours and extended-release Dilaudid can stay in your system for up to three days.

Dilaudid Detection Times on Drug Tests

While Dilaudid will leave your body after about three days, the liver breaks it down into metabolites that are present for longer periods of time. Dilaudid’s main metabolite is hydromorphone-3-glucuronide. This metabolite is what drug tests will detect.

How long Dilaudid shows up on a drug test depends on various factors, such as the type of test, the extent of your Dilaudid use, and your overall health.

Urine tests

The most widely used type of drug test is a urinalysis, or urine test. Urine tests are affordable, accurate, and easy to administer, so they are used in all types of settings, including employment, law enforcement, medical offices, and more. Dilaudid may show up on a urine test for 3-4 days after your last dose.

Blood tests

Dilaudid can be detected in the bloodstream for 1-2 days after your last dose. Blood tests are primarily used in medical settings.

Saliva tests

Saliva tests are performed using a cheek swab. Saliva tests can detect Dilaudid 1-2 days after your last dose.

Hair tests

Hair tests have the longest detection window of all test types, but false positives are common. These tests screen for metabolites stored in the hair follicle. Dilaudid can show up on a hair test for up to three months (90 days) after your last dose.

Factors that Affect How Long Dilaudid Stays in Your System

Everyone’s body metabolizes drugs differently, and there are various factors that influence how long drugs stay in your system. These include:

  • Dose – Higher doses of Dilaudid will stay in the body for longer periods of time.
  • Frequency of use – Taking Dilaudid more often causes its metabolites to build up in your system, therefore, it can stay in your system longer if you take it more frequently.
  • Method of administration – Whether you take Dilaudid orally, crush and snort it, or inject it can affect the amount of time it stays in your body.
  • Using alcohol or other drugs – Mixing Dilaudid with alcohol or other drugs can slow down the rate at which it leaves your body.
  • Liver health – Dilaudid is metabolized by the liver. If the liver isn’t functioning properly, it will need more time to fully metabolize the substance.
  • Speed of metabolism – Some people have faster metabolisms than others, so they can eliminate drugs at a faster rate.

Additional factors that may play a role in how long Dilaudid shows up on a drug test are:

  • Body composition
  • Weight
  • Hydration level
  • Urine pH
  • Age
  • Genetic factors

Stopping taking Dilaudid abruptly after a period of consistent use can result in extremely uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. If you or a loved one are struggling with Dilaudid addiction, a detox and treatment center can help you take the first steps toward sobriety.

Get Help for Dilaudid Abuse and Addiction Now

Dilaudid addiction can harm your physical, mental, and emotional health, but with the right treatment, anyone can recover. At PAX Memphis Recovery Center, our team can arrange a detox and treatment program that is aligned with your individual needs.

We know there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to addiction treatment, which is why every patient gets specialized and undivided attention while in our care. We even go the extra mile by staying connected with our patients after they leave a rehab facility. No matter what obstacles are in your way in recovery, we’ll be there to lend a hand.

To learn about your Dilaudid addiction treatment options or to find help for a loved one, please contact us today.