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How Long Does Dilaudid Stay in Your System?

Medically Verified: 2/1/24

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

Dilaudid is the name brand for a prescription opioid drug called hydromorphone. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Dilaudid is 2 to 8 times more potent than morphine.[1] While Dilaudid has a shorter duration than other opioids, it produces greater effects of sedation.

Hydromorphone is typically prescribed to treat moderate to severe cases of pain. The drug is derived from morphine, which means it binds to opioid receptors in your central nervous system. Frequently using Dilaudid can lead to dependency and addiction.

When you are addicted to Dilaudid, you will begin to grow a tolerance to the drug. Taking larger amounts of hydromorphone could cause you to experience a life-threatening overdose. It is important to be aware of how long Dilaudid stays in your system, as this can prevent you from taking too much at once.

How Long Does Dilaudid Stay in Your System?

Dilaudid comes in many different forms, including oral liquid, fast-acting tablets, injections, suppositories, and long-acting tablets. How long the effects of the substance last as well as how long it stays in your system depends on the specific type of hydromorphone you are using.[2]

The fast-acting oral tablet and liquid reach peak effect 30 to 60 minutes after you take it. The half-life for both types of Dilaudid is just under 3 hours, which means it takes that amount of time for half of the substance to be eliminated from your body.

The hydromorphone injection reaches peak effect 30 to 60 minutes after it’s been given. These injections have a half-life of 2.5 hours, which means it takes up to 12.5 hours for your body to eliminate the substance.

The onset of effects of long-acting Dilaudid tablets begins to take effect after 8 hours, sometimes lasting up to 24 hours. The half-life of this substance is around 11 hours, which means it could take over two days for your body to eliminate it.

How Long is Dilaudid Detected by Drug Tests?

While some forms of Dilaudid may leave your system as early as 15 hours after taking it, drugs leave behind metabolites. Dilaudid’s metabolites are hydromorphone-3-glucuronide, which is what drug tests look for to determine if you have taken Dilaudid.

The detection times for Dilaudid vary depending on the type of medication you were using as well as a variety of personal factors. Additionally, detection times depend on the type of drug test being used.


How long hydromorphone is detectable by urine drug tests depends on how much you have taken it. If you have only used the substance once, it will show up on drug tests for 11 to 24 hours after you ingested it. However, people who have consumed the substance repeatedly will have built-up metabolites in their system, causing drug tests to be detectable for 2 to 4 days.


Saliva tests are not as reliable as urine drug tests, as they provide short windows of detection. Because of this, they are not commonly used. With that being said, saliva tests can show traces of hydromorphone for up to 6 hours.


Blood tests are not always the best option when it comes to testing for Dilaudid, however, the technology used for these tests has improved in recent years. According to a study published by the National Library of Medicine, Dilaudid can be detected in your blood for up to 10 hours.[3]


Hair drug tests can detect any substance for up to 90 days after you last used it by taking a 1.5-inch sample.

Factors that Affect Drug Testing Detection Times

The first factor to consider that affects drug detection times is the type of Dilaudid you were using. Long-acting tablets may be detectable longer than short-acting tablets or liquid versions of the drug.

Other factors to consider include:

  • The dosage used
  • How frequently you abused hydromorphone
  • Method of administration (i.e. smoking, swallowing, snorting, injecting)
  • Age
  • Metabolism rate
  • Overall health
  • Whether you were taking other substances

If you are worried about failing a drug test after abusing Dilaudid, it is important to understand that there is no way to speed up the process of removing it from your system. While there are people who claim over-the-counter “detox drinks” can help you pass a drug test, this is simply untrue. The only way to successfully remove Dilaudid from your body is to stop consuming the substance and wait for your system to clear it naturally.

If you are addicted to hydromorphone, never attempt to quit abusing the drug on your own. You will experience symptoms of withdrawal that can become severe without medical assistance. If you are trying to overcome Dilaudid addiction, you should attend a drug detox program.

Finding Help for Dilaudid Abuse and Addiction

If you or a loved one suffers from Dilaudid addiction, South Carolina Addiction Treatment is here to help. We can provide you with the support and treatments you need to overcome withdrawal symptoms and cravings with ease. We can also connect you with highly rated inpatient addiction treatment programs that can solidify your foundation of recovery.

To learn more about our opioid addiction treatment programs, contact us today.