Exalgo is a prescription narcotic used to treat moderate to severe pain. Exalgo is the brand name for hydromorphone, which belongs to the opioid drug class. Like other opioids, Exalgo works by attaching to opioid receptors in the brain and blocking pain signaling from the brain to the body. As effective as this medication is for treating pain, as with all drugs, hydromorphone can cause some not-so-desirable side effects that all users should be aware of before and while taking it. Below is more information on Exalgo side effects.
How Does Hydromorphone Work?
Hydromorphone or Exalgo extended-release (ER) tablets are used to relieve severe pain in people who require round-the-clock treatment or do not experience relief with other medications. Exalgo ER tablets should only be used to treat people who are used to the effects of opioid medications.
Note that hydromorphone should never be prescribed to individuals who have mild or moderate pain, short-term pain, pain after an operation, and pain that can be controlled with other medications. Hydromorphone belongs to a specific class of narcotics called opiate analgesics.
The drug works by attaching to proteins called opioid receptors, which are located on nerve cells in the brain, spinal cord, gut, and other parts of the body. When this happens, opioids block pain signaling from the body to the central nervous system (CNS), providing relief.
Not only does Exalgo alleviate pain, but it also activates the reward region of the brain. As a result, dopamine levels are elevated, and the person experiences a sense of well-being and pleasure. In high doses, opioids like hydromorphone can produce a euphoric high, which is why they’re one of the most commonly abused drugs in the world.
If you’re taking Exalgo, it’s important to only use the drug as prescribed and directed by your doctor. If you’re starting to feel as if the drug isn’t working as effectively, then speak to your doctor about changing your doses or finding an alternative medication. Do not take higher doses or more frequent doses of the drug unless directed to by your physician.
Side Effects of Hydromorphone (Exalgo)
Hydromorphone can cause mild to severe side effects, depending on how long the person has been taking the drug and the doses they’re used to taking. It’s common for users to experience some adverse side effects when they first start using Exalgo, as their body is adjusting to the new drug.
The following list includes common Exalgo side effects:
- Dry mouth
- Euphoria, or a feel-good effect
- Flushing or reddening and warming of the skin
- Nausea and/or vomiting
Call your doctor right away if you experience serious hydromorphone side effects. Call 9-1-1 or your local emergency services if your symptoms feel threatening or you suspect you’re experiencing an opioid overdose.
Serious Exalgo side effects may include:
- Rapid or slow heart rate
- Chest pain
- Difficulty seeing
- Double vision
- Pinpoint pupils
- Stomach pain
- Bowel blockage
- Tremors or involuntary muscle movements
- Unusual or involuntary eye movements
- Strange or prickling sensation on the skin
- Muscle weakness
- Abdominal pain
- Decreased energy
If you’re taking Exalgo and ever experience these symptoms, speak to your doctor right away. They might adjust your dosage or change the medication entirely.
Exalgo Abuse and Addiction Treatment
It’s important to use Exalgo as prescribed to not only avoid some of the negative reactions mentioned above but also to prevent dependence and addiction from occurring. As an opioid, hydromorphone of any brand or name has a high potential for abuse and addiction.
Misusing prescription opioids - using them in ways not directed by a doctor - can lead to the development of physical dependence, which is marked by withdrawal symptoms when users suddenly try to quit. To avoid withdrawals, many opioid users will continue their drug use until they’re unable to control it at all, resulting in addiction.
If you or someone you know has become addicted to Exalgo or any other medication, our prescription drug addiction treatment can help. Our rehab in Texas offers opioid addiction treatment, among other substance-specific rehab programs that incorporate detox and therapy to aid clients in their recovery.