Cancer Home > What Is Hydromorphone ER Used For?

Hydromorphone ER is approved for treating chronic pain in adults. This medication is prescribed when around-the-clock use of a strong painkiller is needed for a long time. Hydromorphone ER is used to replace short-acting opioids; it is not meant for people who are unaccustomed to taking high doses of opioids. There are currently no off-label uses for this drug.

An Introduction to Uses for Hydromorphone ER

Hydromorphone ER (Exalgo™) is a prescription medication approved to treat pain. It is a strong narcotic painkiller recommended only when continuous, around-the-clock use of a potent opioid medication is necessary for an extended period (more than a few days). Only people who are accustomed to taking significant amounts of opioids ("opioid-tolerant" individuals) should take hydromorphone ER.
 
Long-acting opioid products, including hydromorphone ER, are typically used to replace short-acting opioids. Often, people are started on the short-acting drugs first. Once it becomes clear that long-term pain control is necessary, long-acting products are usually preferred. However, many people will still need to have a short-acting medication on hand to deal with "breakthrough" pain.
 
Hydromorphone ER is meant to be used consistently every day. It is not approved for unscheduled, "as needed" use. Long-acting opioids are often used to treat cancer pain or other types of chronic pain.
 
Because hydromorphone ER contains hydromorphone, it can be used (or rather, abused) inappropriately (see Exalgo Abuse).
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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