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Lortab Overview

Lortab is a prescription, brand-name combination drug. Contained in Lortab are hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Hydrocodone is an opioid, also referred to as a narcotic. Acetaminophen is a medication available over-the-counter and used in brand-name drugs like Tylenol. The combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen allows Lortab to effectively combat pain in multiple ways.

Lortab can be prescribed for moderate to severe pain. Other drugs that combine both hydrocodone and acetaminophen include Norco, Lorcet, and Vicodin.

This article is part of our series on substance abuse.

Lortab Effects


When someone uses Lortab it causes a slowdown of their central nervous system. Lortab is an effective pain reliever, but because of the risks, including the potential for an addiction to develop, it is only supposed to be prescribed for short-term use. The longer someone uses Lortab, or the larger the doses they use, the more likely they are to become addicted and dependent on it.

Along with pain relief, other Lortab effects occur.

Psychologically, someone using Lortab may feel a sense of euphoria, well-being, or relaxation. These are all considered desirable effects of the drug that someone might seek out if they’re using it recreationally.

Common physical side effects of Lortab can include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling lightheaded
  • Dry mouth
  • Itching
  • Small pupils

Lortab-Addiction-Healing-Rehab-RecoveryIf someone takes a dose of Lortab that’s larger than what their body and brain can handle, the effects can be serious or deadly. Combining Lortab with other central nervous system depressants such as alcohol or benzodiazepines can also be deadly. Signs of a Lortab overdose include:

Slow or shallow breathing

  • Irregular breathing
  • Slow heart rate
  • Skin that’s cold or clammy
  • Nodding off or losing consciousness
  • Seizures

Since Lortab contains acetaminophen, it can have other adverse effects. Too much acetaminophen can cause liver damage or acute liver failure. Sometimes with combination drugs like Lortab, a person suffers from an acetaminophen overdose even before a hydrocodone overdose occurs.

Signs of Lortab Addiction

If someone uses Lortab in any way outside of how it’s prescribed to be used, or use it without a prescription, it’s considered recreational abuse. Lortab abuse isn’t the same as addiction, but if someone abuses a drug like Lortab, they are significantly more likely to become addicted.

Addiction is a diagnosed chronic disorder. Some of the signs of a Lortab addiction include:

  • Changes in mood or behavior related to the use of Lortab
  • Continuing to use Lortab, even when there are negative consequences
  • Continuing to use Lortab after it’s no longer needed for the condition it was prescribed
  • A tolerance builds, meaning more and more Lortab is needed for the same effects
  • Being unable to stop using Lortab, even when you want to
  • Much of your time, energy and focus goes toward Lortab including obtaining more, using it, and recovering from the effects
  • Problems start to occur with relationships
  • Loss of interest in other responsibilities, activities, and interests
  • Changes in hygiene or physical appearance
  • You combine Lortab with other substances to heighten the effects

If someone does have any of the above signs of a Lortab addiction, a medical professional or addiction counselor can help them. An addiction can not only be diagnosed based on the symptoms that occur, but it can also be diagnosed as mild, moderate or severe.

The severity of an addiction diagnosis is based on how many symptoms someone displays.

Lortab Withdrawal Symptoms

Lortab-Addiction-Recovery-Horn-RehabilitationOne sign of opioid addiction can also be a dependence on the drug. However, a drug dependence to Lortab can form even if someone uses it exactly as prescribed. When someone is dependent on Lortab, not using it suddenly can cause withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal from Lortab can range from mild to moderate, depending factors such as the extent of use.

Lortab withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Aggression
  • Anxiety or agitation
  • Depression
  • Aches and pains
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Chills
  • Muscle cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Shakiness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Changes in appetite

Withdrawal from Lortab and other similar opioids can last for around a week, and sometimes longer. Some people also have ongoing withdrawal symptoms, which are primarily psychological. These can include ongoing anxiety or depression.

When a person is addicted to Lortab or has a dependence, professional treatment is available. Reach out to Amethyst Recovery to learn more about addiction treatment options.

This article is part of our series on substance abuse.

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