What is Palladone?

Hydromorphone, a more common synonym for dihydromorphinone (not to be confused with dihydromorphine, which is a different derivative of the morphine family), commonly a hydrochloride (brand names Palladone, Dilaudid, and numerous others) is a very potent centrally acting analgesic drug of the opioid class. It is a derivative of morphine; to be specific, a hydrogenated ketone thereof, and comparatively, hydromorphone is to morphine as hydrocodone is to codeine and, therefore, a semi-synthetic drug. It is in medical terms an opioid analgesic and in legal terms a narcotic. Hydromorphone is commonly used in the hospital setting, mostly intravenously (IV) because its bioavailability orally, rectally, and intranasally is very low. Sublingual administration (under the tongue) is usually superior to swallowing for bioavailability and effects, however hydromorphone, like most opiates, is bitter and hydrophilic, not lipophilic, so is absorbed poorly/slowly through mouth membranes.

Hydromorphone is much more soluble in water than morphine and therefore hydromorphone solutions can be produced to deliver the drug in a smaller volume of water. The hydrochloride salt is soluble in three parts of water whereas a gram of morphine hydrochloride dissolves in 16 ml of water; for all common purposes the pure powder for hospital use can be used to produce solutions of virtually arbitrary concentration. When the powder has appeared on the street, this very small volume of powder needed for a dose means that overdoses are likely for those who mistake it for heroin or other powdered narcotics, especially those that have been cut or 'stepped on' already.

Very small quantities of hydromorphone are detected in assays of opium on rare occasions; it appears to be produced by the plant under circumstances and by processes which are not understood at this time and may include the action of bacteria. A similar process and/or other metabolic processes in the plant may very well be responsible for the very low quantities of hydrocodone also found on rare occasions in opium and alkaloid mixtures derived therefrom; dihydrocodeine, oxymorphol, oxycodone, oxymorphone, metopon and possibly other derivatives of morphine and/or hydromorphone also are found in trace amounts in opium.

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