The efficacy of epidurally administered hydromorphone for postcesarean analgesia was evaluated in a prospective, randomized, double-blind study. Patients in group H (N = 26) received 1.0 mg of hydromorphone in preservative-free saline (total volume = 10 mL), administered epidurally. Patients in group B (N = 26) received 10 mL of 0.25% bupivacaine, administered epidurally. Both groups subsequently received intramuscular injections of hydromorphone as needed. There were significant differences between the two groups in pain score, patient assessment of analgesia quality, time to first analgesic intervention, and total dosage of hydromorphone during the first 24 hours. Nausea/vomiting and pruritis occurred more frequently in group H. No patient had a respiratory rate less than or equal to 10. There were no statistically significant differences between groups in mean times to first ambulation, first void, first passage of flatus, or hospital discharge.