Compare fentanyl vs. Dilaudid

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

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Duragesic (fentanyl)

Prescription only

Dilaudid (hydromorphone)

Prescription only
Treats severe pain.

Duragesic (fentanyl) is an excellent pain reliever, but should only be used by people who've tried other opioid pain medications and still need more relief.

4.2/ 5 average rating with 84 reviewsforfentanyl
Treats moderate to severe pain.

Dilaudid (hydromorphone) is a powerful pain reliever that has significant risks for abuse and overdose.

4.1/ 5 average rating with 51 reviewsforDilaudid
Upsides
  • Duragesic (fentanyl) is stronger than morphine, works quickly, and doesn't cause as many stomach problems.
  • It's available in many dosage forms, including a patch, injection, film, nasal spray, and lollipop.
  • The Duragesic (fentanyl) patch provides long-term pain relief and lowers the number of times you need to take pain medications each day.
  • Dilaudid (hydromorphone) works better and faster at relieving pain than morphine.
  • Available in a cheap generic version.
Downsides
  • Duragesic (fentanyl) isn't for everyone. It's a really strong pain medication and taking too much can be deadly.
  • The patch doesn't provide quick pain relief.
  • Often causes drowsiness and constipation. If taking long-term, use a stool softener.
  • Shouldn't be used by people with breathing problems (like asthma and COPD), a slow heart rate, or are elderly.
  • Constipation is a common side effect of Dilaudid (hydromorphone) and may require the use of laxatives or stool softeners.
  • Dilaudid (hydromorphone) is fatal when combined with alcohol, muscle relaxants, and other medications that slow breathing.
  • Long-term use of opioids will cause physical dependence.
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Used for
Dosage forms
  • Patch
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Mouth spray
  • Lozenge
  • Buccal tablet
  • Nasal spray
  • Pill
  • Extended release pill
  • Liquid
  • Suppository
Price
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Reviews
84 reviews so far
79%
saidit'sworth it
70%
saiditworked well
14%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Duragesic (fentanyl)?

Leave a review
51 reviews so far
78%
saidit'sworth it
65%
saiditworked well
10%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Dilaudid (hydromorphone)?

Leave a review
Side effects
34possible side effects
  • Vomiting
    34%
  • Nausea
    24%
  • Dizziness
    17%
  • Drowsiness
    17%
  • Headache
    16%
  • Constipation
    13%
  • Diarrhea
    13%
  • Itchy skin
    13%
  • Weakness
    9%
  • Abdominal pain
    9%
  • Difficulty sleeping
    6%
  • Rash
    6%
  • Swelling in the limbs
    5%
  • Confusion
    4%
  • Difficulty breathing
    4%
  • Upper abdominal pain
    4%
  • Loss of appetite
    4%
  • Anxiety
    4%
  • Tremor
    3%
  • Hypersensitivity
    3%
  • Urinary retention
    3%
  • Sweating
    3%
  • Accidental injury
    2%
  • Abnormal gait
    2%
  • Dry mouth
    2%
  • Nervousness
    2%
  • Dilation of blood vessels
    2%
  • Abnormal vision
    2%
  • Burning/pricking sensation
    2%
  • Confusional state
    2%
  • Fatigue
    2%
  • Muscle spasms
    2%
  • Depression
    2%
  • Hallucination
    2%
See more detailed side effects
The Dilaudid (hydromorphone) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
Risks and risk factors
  • Slowed breathing (respiratory depression)
    • Taking other medicines that interact with Duragesic (fentanyl)
    • Age 65 or greater
    • Taking benzodiazepines, other opioids, and/or alcohol
    • Asthma or COPD
  • Death from overdose
    • Children age 18 and younger
  • Death in newborn babies from opioid withdrawal
    • Long-term use of Duragesic (fentanyl) during pregnancy
  • Tolerance, dependence, and addiction
    • Taking more than the prescribed dose
    • Long-term use
    • History of drug abuse
  • Driving impairment
    • Taking with alcohol
    • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
    • Age 65 or greater
  • Medication errors
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Slowed breathing
    • Current use of medicine that affects liver enzyme CYP 3A4
    • Age 65 or greater
    • Higher doses
    • Drinking alcohol
    • Use with benzodiazepines
  • Death from overdose
    • Children age 18 and younger
  • Death of newborn babies from opioid withdrawal
    • Long-term use during pregnancy
  • Tolerance, dependence, and addiction
    • Taking more than the prescribed dose
    • Long-term use
    • History of drug abuse
  • Driving impairment
    • Taking Dilaudid (hydromorphone) with alcohol
    • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
    • Age 65 or greater
See more detailed risks and warnings