Diamorphine hydrochloride (heroin)

Diamorphine hydrochloride is an opiate drug with extremely powerful pain-killing properties. It a chemical derivative of morphine, with increased solubility and more complete and rapid penetration into the brain than morphine. It also causes less nausea and low blood pressure than morphine.

Diamorphine is used medically for the relief of pain, by injection under the skin, into a muscle or around the spinal cord (epidural). It can also be taken by mouth.

In addition to its use as a painkiller, diamorphine can also be used to treat water retention in the lungs and heart attacks.

Diamorphine or heroin is commonly abused, since it brings about an overwhelming sense of well-being and euphoria. Abusers of diamorphine usually inject the drug into a vein or smoke it.

However, abuse of diamorphine can lead to dependence and addiction, which can have serious consequences on health, primarily due to neglect of normal day-to-day activities such as eating and avoiding infections. Withdrawal symptoms from heroin use are severe, including diarrhoea, nausea, pain and tremor.

Diamorphine’s use in medical settings is extremely unlikely to lead to dependence.

Based on the behaviour of related drugs, diamorphine may interact with protease inhibitors, but no studies have examined the effects of diamorphine on anti-HIV drugs directly.

Community Consensus Statement on Access to HIV Treatment and its Use for Prevention

Together, we can make it happen

We can end HIV soon if people have equal access to HIV drugs as treatment and as PrEP, and have free choice over whether to take them.

Launched today, the Community Consensus Statement is a basic set of principles aimed at making sure that happens.

The Community Consensus Statement is a joint initiative of AVAC, EATG, MSMGF, GNP+, HIV i-Base, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, ITPC and NAM/aidsmap

This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.

NAM’s information is intended to support, rather than replace, consultation with a healthcare professional. Talk to your doctor or another member of your healthcare team for advice tailored to your situation.