If misused, Lortab addiction can develop, so it’s important to use this medication only as prescribed.

Lortab is often compared to other pain relievers, such as Vicodin and Percocet, when discussing its effectiveness in treating pain and its addictive qualities. If misused, Lortab addiction can develop, so it’s important to use this medication only as prescribed.

What Is Lortab?

Lortab is a pain reliever made of two ingredients: hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Hydrocodone is a frequently prescribed opioid commonly used to ease moderate to severe pain. The opioid component is what contributes to Lortab addiction. Acetaminophen is a component of many over-the-counter pain relievers. Although acetaminophen is used to treat mild pain, its effects are amplified when combined with hydrocodone.

These two ingredients work differently to relieve pain. Hydrocodone binds to opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord, blocking the pain signals sent by the nervous system. Acetaminophen reduces the chemical in your brain that stimulates pain nerves.

Brand-name Lortab is only manufactured in a liquid formulation, so legitimate tablets or pills are unavailable. However, generic forms of hydrocodone/acetaminophen tablets are available.

What Is Lortab Used For?

Lortab should only be used with a healthcare provider’s prescription to manage severe pain that cannot be managed with non-opioid medications. It is important to only use Lortab for the shortest length of time possible and at the lowest dose that controls pain.

How Addictive Is Lortab?

Lortab, like other opioid medications, has the potential to become addictive, especially with long-term use. Up to 25% of people prescribed opioid medications like Lortab become addicted.

Lortab misuse can lead to addiction, resulting in the following side effects:

  • Increased risk of a potentially fatal overdose
  • Increased mood swings
  • An escalation in anxiety or depression
  • Destruction of relationships

Lortab addiction can be a severe condition and should prompt professional treatment as soon as possible.

Lortab Addiction Statistics

Regarding Lortab addiction in the U.S., statistics for the specific brand name drug are unknown. However, data exists regarding the misuse of prescription opioids as a whole.

According to a CDC report using data gathered in 2016, 4.3% of people 12 years and older said they misused prescription opioid pain relievers during the previous year. This figure equates to over 11 million people. Note that misuse doesn’t necessarily indicate addiction, but misuse can lead to addiction. When analyzing this figure by gender, 4.8% of males and 3.8% of females reported misuse.

In this same report, over 1.7 million people said they were diagnosed with a substance use disorder involving prescription opioids over the past year, meaning they met specific criteria for drug dependence or abuse.

Causes of Lortab Addiction

Lortab addiction can have many different risk factors. A person’s personality and history may predispose them to an addiction, such as having risk factors like a family history of addiction, unemployment and social isolation. However, other factors can predispose you to developing a Lortab addiction, like:

  • Taking more Lortab than prescribed
  • Taking Lortab more often than prescribed
  • Taking Lortab that was not prescribed to you
  • Going to different doctors or pharmacies to try to obtain Lortab
  • Exaggerating your symptoms to try to get more Lortab

Signs and Symptoms of Lortab Addiction

Many physical and emotional signs typically accompany lortab misuse and addiction. 

Physical Symptoms

Some of the physical signs that someone is using Lortab include:

  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Respiratory depression
  • Drowsiness
  • Behavior changes

If you notice any of these signs in someone you know, it’s important to talk to them about it. Lortab misuse can often lead to abuse and addiction, and getting help early is important.

Emotional Changes

Emotional changes from Lortab misuse can also be visible to those close to someone engaging in abuse or who has an addiction. These kinds of changes include:

  • Physical dependence, or the inability to stop using a substance since the body has grown used to the drug
  • The primary focus in life is on obtaining more of the drug
  • Social withdrawal
  • Using the drug even though negative effects occur
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Financial difficulties
  • Risk-taking behavior

If you notice any of these changes in someone you know, it’s important to talk to them or seek help. Lortab addiction is a serious problem but can be overcome with the right treatment.

Effects of Lortab Addiction

Lortab addiction carries numerous physical and mental side effects. The severity and duration of misuse heighten these effects, so it’s important to seek help as soon as you or a loved one recognize a problem.

Physical Health Consequences

Lortab use is associated with many side effects due to the hydrocodone component. While the initial effects may include euphoria and relaxation, unwanted effects can arise. These effects commonly include:

  • Sedation/drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Decreased respiratory rate
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Lightheadedness

In cases of high doses, particularly in individuals with pre-existing liver conditions, acetaminophen — a Lortab component — can potentially harm the liver. When combined with alcohol, which is present in the liquid formulation of Lortab, the adverse effects on the liver can be intensified. Symptoms indicating liver damage caused by acetaminophen toxicity may include:

  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Excessive sweating
  • Lethargy
  • Abdominal pain
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
  • Increased susceptibility to bleeding
  • Cognitive impairment

Mental Health Consequences

The misuse and addiction to Lortab can lead to significant alterations in the structure and function of the brain, ultimately impacting multiple aspects of a person’s life, physical well-being and relationships. Self-control, judgment, decision-making, learning and memory can all be affected by Lortab addiction.

Lortab Overdose

A Lortab overdose can result from excessive intake of either the hydrocodone or acetaminophen component or both. Signs of a hydrocodone overdose include decreased respiration, extreme sleepiness leading to coma and potential fatality, muscle weakness, clammy skin and pinpoint pupils. Acetaminophen overdose symptoms typically manifest two to three days after the overdose and are primarily associated with liver damage, including:

  1. Yellowing of the skin and eyes
  2. Abdominal pain
  3. Bleeding easily
  4. Coma

The timeline for a Lortab overdose varies depending on the individual. Hydrocodone overdoses typically become apparent within one to two hours, especially with larger doses. Acetaminophen overdoses may take several days to become evident.

Lortab Addiction Treatment

Like any other opioid, Lortab carries the potential for addiction, especially with long-term use. Call The Recovery Village today if you or a loved one struggles with Lortab addiction. Individualized Lortab addiction treatment programs address addiction and any co-occurring mental health disorders. You deserve a healthier future; call today. 

Detox and Withdrawal From Lortab

Detoxification refers to gradually eliminating Lortab from the body following its cessation. During this phase, the body metabolizes and reduces the presence of Lortab until it is completely eliminated. While most withdrawal symptoms occur during detox, they can persist even after the drug is entirely removed from the body.

Lortab withdrawal occurs when an individual dependent on the drug abruptly discontinues its use. Symptoms commonly associated with Lortab withdrawal include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Shaking
  • Irritability/nervousness
  • Sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Body aches
  • Increased heart rate

Safely managing these symptoms is crucial during the withdrawal process, and seeking professional assistance can help mitigate the risk of relapse due to the discomfort experienced.

The onset of Lortab withdrawal can begin within a few hours of the last dose, with significant discomfort typically arising within one to two days. The most intense withdrawal symptoms are generally experienced during the first five days. However, withdrawal can persist for several days or weeks beyond this initial phase, particularly if Lortab was used for an extended period before discontinuation.

Inpatient Programs for Lortab Addiction

Inpatient rehab and partial hospitalization offer comprehensive and supportive care for individuals seeking recovery from addiction. This type of program is particularly beneficial for those requiring additional support for mental health disorders. Partial hospitalization, on the other hand, provides access to staff 24/7 and may include on-site living facilities. It typically follows medical detox and involves intensive treatment planning, group therapy, individual therapy and medication management. Both inpatient rehab and partial hospitalization offer crucial resources and strategies to maximize the chances of successful recovery.

Outpatient Programs

Outpatient care is ideal for individuals in stable physical and mental conditions who have already completed higher levels of care like inpatient rehab and medical detox. Intensive outpatient programs help individuals acquire coping skills for returning to normal daily life. This level of care is typically suitable for those who have already completed inpatient rehab or partial hospitalization. In outpatient rehab, individuals can reside in the community and visit the treatment facility on a scheduled basis for therapy and counseling. This level of care provides more flexibility, allowing individuals to maintain employment and fulfill home responsibilities while receiving treatment.

Get Help for Lortab Addiction Today

If you or a loved one are struggling with a Lortab addiction, you are not alone. The opioid epidemic has impacted millions of Americans, and prescription opioids like Lortab are not immune from causing addiction. But help is available: from our medical detox program to wean you off Lortab to our rehab offerings to keep you off Lortab for good, The Recovery Village is with you every step as you overcome your Lortab addiction. Contact us today to learn more.

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Editor – Theresa Valenzky
Theresa Valenzky graduated from the University of Akron with a Bachelor of Arts in News/Mass Media Communication and a certificate in psychology. She is passionate about providing genuine information to encourage and guide healing in all aspects of life. Read more
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Medically Reviewed By – Dr. Jessica Pyhtila, PharmD
Dr. Jessica Pyhtila is a Clinical Pharmacy Specialist based in Baltimore, Maryland with practice sites in inpatient palliative care and outpatient primary care at the Department of Veteran Affairs. Read more

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Prescription Opioids“>Prescription Opioids.” August 29, 2017. Accessed August 24, 2023.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Annual Surveillance Report of Drug-Related Risks and Outcomes“>Annual S[…] and Outcomes.” 2018. Accessed August 24, 2023.

State of Hawaii Department of Health. “Risk Factors“>Risk Factors.” Accessed August 24, 2023.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.