Lortab Addiction & Abuse

What is Lortab?

Lortab is a pain reliever which is made of two ingredients: hydrocodone and acetaminophen.

Hydrocodone is a frequently prescribed opioid commonly used to ease moderate to severe pain. This component of Lortab is highly addictive; the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency states that it is associated with more drug abuse than any other opioid. Acetaminophen is a component of many over-the-counter pain relievers. Although it’s often used to treat mild pain, its effects are amplified when combined with hydrocodone.

These two ingredients each work in different ways to relieve pain. Hydrocodone tricks you into believing you are not feeling pain by binding to receptors in your brain, blocking the pain signals being sent by your nervous system. Acetaminophen, on the other hand, reduces the chemical in your brain that stimulates pain nerves.

Lortab is often compared to other pain relievers, such as vicodin and percocet, when discussing its effectiveness in treating pain and its addictive qualities.

Lortab Side Effects & Symptoms

The dosage of Lortab prescribed by doctors will depend on each individual patient, particularly their physiology, the severity of their pain and any other existing health conditions. However, the most common adult dosages for pain are:

Oral tablets: 5-10 mg, every 4-6 hours as needed

It is common for the prescribed amount of Lortab to have some side effects, which may include:

  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadness
  • Mild nausea
  • Blurry vision
  • Headaches
  • Dry mouth

Lortab Overdose

If you encounter more serious side effects, you may be experiencing an overdose. If you experience the following symptoms, we recommend that you immediately seek medical assistance:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Blood in urine
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Abnormally low blood pressure
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Cardiac arrest

Tapering off Lortab

Following the decision to stop taking Lortab, you will be faced with multiple methods for the detox process. One of these methods is tapering, which means gradually decreasing each dose until you reach a very low amount. Once you have reached this point, it is typically much easier to then stop taking the drug altogether.

Some healthcare providers recommend this method to help minimize the intensity and duration of withdrawal symptoms. Additionally, this method can reduce the risks associated with quitting cold turkey for those with severe addictions and preexisting medical conditions.

Lortab Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms associated with Lortab typically arise as soon as the brain feels its been deprived of the drug, which can be as soon as a few hours after the last dose. Withdrawal is known for being an uncomfortable and unpleasant experience; however, it is not usually fatal. Additionally, certain withdrawal medications can help ease these symptoms in a medical drug detox program.

Some common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Cravings
  • Body Aches
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Excessive sweating
  • Irritability
  • Joint pain
  • Panic attacks
  • Fever & chills


Withdrawal symptoms can begin anywhere between a few hours and a couple days after the last dose of Lortab. Typically, the entire withdrawal process lasts just over a week, though some symptoms may occasionally surface during the first month without the drug.

How long Lortab withdrawal last depends on more than the drug itself. Variations can occur based on the length of the addiction and the severity of the dependence, as well as other factors unique to the individual.

Withdrawal Timeline

24-48 Hours

During the first two days after quitting Lortab, you may notice a steady increase in the intensity of the physical withdrawal symptoms. Powerful cravings and feverishness is common in this initial period, in addition to headaches, body aches and dizziness. These symptoms will most likely peak during this period.

Days 3-5

During this second period, you may notice that some of the physical symptoms are sticking around but are no longer as severe. You may also experience diarrhea, vomiting and excessive sweating so pay close attention to any warning signs of dehydration and try your best to stay hydrated.

Days 6-7

As physical symptoms begin to dissipate, you may experience the impact of psychological symptoms such as difficulty sleeping, feelings of anxiety, and abnormal irritability.

Day 8

After the end of the week, you may find that most of your withdrawal symptoms have ceased. However, do not panic if you are still experiencing psychological or physical symptoms. They can sometimes last for a full month.

Lortab Abuse Treatment

When exploring treatment options to begin your recovery, you may feel overwhelmed at all the potential decisions involved. To reduce the stress of those decisions, each of our treatment options is designed to suit your individual needs. We offer two main types of treatment programs: residential inpatient treatment and outpatient treatment

Deciding If Inpatient Treatment is Right for You

The residential inpatient treatment program offers the opportunity to step back from the stresses of daily life and focus solely on your recovery. With support from a 24-hour nursing staff, this program offers a safe and positive environment that fosters sober living. Here, you will be able to focus on building healthy routines after you have completed the detox process.

Our inpatient program can benefit anyone looking to pursue sobriety, but those who are in need of inpatient care typically exhibit some of the following behaviors:

  • The patient is expected to have severe withdrawal based on dependency
  • The patient is without a home and/or sober support group
  • The patient is having thoughts of suicide or self-harm
  • The patient has a history of severe depression
  • The patient has failed in previous outpatient treatment programs
  • The patient possesses a co-occuring disorder

There are also some who may be suited to our outpatient program, which allows patients to maintain commitments to home, family and work-related matters. Instead of residing at the treatment center, this option provides treatment during the patient’s remaining available hours.

Those who qualify for outpatient treatment will likely meet the following criteria:

  • The patient is not expected to have serious withdrawal complications
  • The patient has a safe home environment and stable support group
  • The patient does not possess any mental or psychiatric illnesses
  • The patient is not experiencing any thoughts of suicide or self-harm
  • The patient does not have a co-occurring disorder
  • The patient has not failed any previous outpatient programs

Risks of At-Home Detox

When considering your available treatment options for detox, you may encounter information about at-home detox for Lortab. While this method is not unheard of, it can present a number of risks depending on your individual circumstances. If you are facing a decision between the do-it-yourself detox approach and a detox program, it’s important to note both internal and external factors that could impede your sobriety.

When detoxing at home, you face a number of challenges that lead to a higher likelihood of relapse. Some of these difficulties may include:

  • Access to Lortab and other pain medication
  • Familiar surroundings associated with drug use
  • Friends and family who use drugs
  • The stress of family, work and home life
  • No medical assistance in the event of a withdrawal-related emergency
  • No access to medication for coping with withdrawal symptoms

If you or a loved one is struggling with a Lortab dependency, please call us today. We are ready to help you start your sobriety!

Lortab Addiction was last modified: July 8th, 2017 by The Recovery Village