Stuck on Opioids? Learn About Telemedicine Suboxone - Insurance Accepted.

Learn More

How Long Does Dilaudid Stay in Your System?

Peter Manza, PhD profile image
Reviewed By Peter Manza, PhD • Updated May 20, 2023 • 6 cited sources
urine sample container over medical report

Dilaudid will stay in your system for a few days on average. Its effects can be felt for 3 to 19 hours, depending on the type of Dilaudid taken and the method of administration. It can be detected on a urine drug test for 2 to 4 days and a hair follicle drug test for up to 90 days.

Dilaudid is a powerful opioid painkiller available in oral and injection formats. For people with severe pain that can’t be addressed via other methods, Dilaudid offers significant relief. But it can also be a target for drug misuse. 

Dilaudid is a brand-name version of hydromorphone, which is two to eight times more potent than morphine, but it wears off much quicker than morphine.[1] How quickly you’ll feel each dose, how long it lasts and how long the drug will appear in drug tests depends on the method you use to administer it. 

Duration Effects of Dilaudid

Multiple forms of Dilaudid exist, giving doctors plenty of options for treating their patients. How quickly you feel doses and how long they last depends on the administration type you use. 

The following three types of administration are common in Dilaudid products:

  • Immediate-release oral tablets: You’ll feel the dose within 15 to 30 minutes, and the relief peaks at 30 to 60 minutes. The effects last between 3 and 4 hours.[2]
  • Extended-release oral tablets: You’ll feel the dose within about 6 hours, and the changes peak at 9 hours. The changes will last for up to 13 hours.[2]
  • Injection: You’ll feel the dose within 5 minutes, and the changes peak at 20 minutes. The effects last up to 19 hours.[3]

Some people subvert these timeframes by manipulating the way they ingest the drugs. They may crush tablets and snort them, rather than letting them move through the digestive tract. Or they may insert tablets rectally rather than swallowing them. Some people may crush the pills, mix them with water or another liquid, and then inject the resulting substance.

Changes like this can change drug onset and duration in unpredictable ways. Whenever Dilaudid is taken a way other than as intended, overdose is more likely.

Dilaudid Half-Life 

A drug’s half-life represents the timeframe required for the body to process and/or remove 50% of the drug. Half-life varies by Dilaudid administration type. 

Studies verify the following estimates of half-life by administration:

  • Immediate-release tablets: 2–3 hours[2]
  • Extended-release tablets: About 11 hours.[2]
  • Injection: 2.3 hours[4]

You may not notice the moment when the half-life passes. But when it happens, about half of the drug is not active within your body. 

How Long Does Dilaudid Remain in Your System?

Like all opioids, Dilaudid lingers within the system long after you feel sober. If you’re using this drug, expect it to appear on tests your employers or doctors might use to determine if you’re misusing drugs.

Dilaudid can appear in drug tests for the following periods:[5]

  • Hair follicle test: 90 days 
  • Urine test: 24 hours 
  • Saliva test: 6 hours 
  • Blood test: 10 hours

Know that these timeframes are estimates. You can’t use them as hard-and-fast rules to beat the system and pass tests you shouldn’t.

Factors That Impact Detectability Length

While most people process Dilaudid within a few hours or days, your results can vary. The following factors can change your timeframes. 

You may retain Dilaudid longer due to these factors:

  • Advanced age
  • Poor organ health 
  • Genetic factors that alter drug processing speed 
  • Use of other drugs

Some people have genetic alterations that allow them to process opioids very quickly. If you’re one of them, Dilaudid could pass through your body very quickly. But you may feel very sick as soon as the dose hits. If you’re someone with this genetic factor, you probably know it. 

If you combine Dilaudid with other substances, such as alcohol or benzodiazepines, it may take much longer for it to process out of the body. This combination of substances is also much more likely to lead to overdose, which can be fatal.

If you buy Dilaudid on the street, you don’t know if the pills or tablets have been laced with other substances, like fentanyl. If they are, this can impact the amount of time the drugs stay in your system.

How Does the Body Metabolize & Break Down Dilaudid?

Dilaudid is metabolized by the liver, and it moves through several metabolites before it passes out of your body. Some of these metabolites have painkilling properties, but others do not.[3] 
Think of metabolization like chemical transformations.[6] You take the drug in one form, and it moves through other forms, before it moves out of your body through your urine, feces and breath.

Reviewed By Peter Manza, PhD

Peter Manza, PhD received his BA in Psychology and Biology from the University of Rochester and his PhD in Integrative Neuroscience at Stony Brook University. He is currently working as a research scientist in Washington, DC. His research focuses on the role ... Read More

  1. Hydromorphone. United States Drug Enforcement Administration. Accessed April 2023.
  2. Hydromorphone. Stat Pearls. July 2022. Accessed April 2023.
  3. Hydromorphone. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. May 2005. Accessed April 2023.
  4. Dilaudid and Dilaudid Injection. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. June 2008. Accessed April 2023.
  5. Interpretation of Oral Fluid Tests for Drugs of Abuse. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. June 2009. Accessed April 2023.
  6. Drug Metabolism. StatPearls. January 2023. Accessed April 2023.
Safe, effective Suboxone treatment from home. Learn More

Imagine what’s possible on the other side of opioid use disorder.

Our science-backed approach boasts 95% of patients reporting no withdrawal symptoms at 7 days. We can help you achieve easier days and a happier future.