Is Lortab an Opioid: What Kind of Drug is Lortab?

Lortab is a prescription drug that’s also commonly known as Lorcet, Norco, and Vicodin. While those drugs are similar to one another, they may have some minor differences. Lortab and drugs similar to it are controlled-substances, which means the United States DEA regulates them and they’re available only by prescription. The DEA also considers the acceptable medical use and the drug’s potential for abuse or dependency when categorizing a drug as a controlled substance.

Is Lortab an Opioid: What Kind of Drug is Lortab?
Lortab is a combination medicine, which means it fights pain in two ways — in this case through the inclusion of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Because hydrocodone is an opioid, Lortab is an opioid. Lortab also contains acetaminophen which is a pain reliever found in medicine like Tylenol.

People often wonder, “Is Lortab an opioid?” and, “What kind of drug is Lortab?” because of the increased amount of attention on opioids in the United States right now and due to the opioid epidemic that the country is facing.

One of the biggest issues with opioids is the potential for addiction and abuse, and since Lortab is an opioid, it’s no exception.

Lortab does have medical applications, however, and it’s usually prescribed to patients who are experiencing short-term pain, due to surgery or an injury. On occasion, it may also be prescribed to patients with chronic or ongoing pain, although less often.

The opioid element of Lortab, which is the hydrocodone, is the part of the drug that can lead to addiction, as acetaminophen is non-habit forming.

While acetaminophen isn’t going to lead to addiction, it does have its own risks. Namely, when you take too much acetaminophen it can lead to liver damage or liver failure.

As well as wondering, “Is Lortab an opioid?” or,  “What kind of drug is Lortab?” you may also consider how it works.

The hydrocodone part of Lortab works like other opioids. When someone takes an opioid pain medicine, it decreases how pain signals are transmitted through the nervous system, which instead of blocking pain it actually changes your perception of pain or raises your threshold for pain. Opioids do this by binding to opioid receptors.

Other opioids, in addition to Lortab, include codeine, fentanyl, methadone, morphine, and oxycodone.

To curb the overdoses and deaths from the use of opioid painkillers like Lortab, the CDC recently released guidelines on how these drugs should be prescribed. There are an estimated two million people in the United States each year who abuse or misuse prescription opioids, including Lortab.

The guidelines are aimed at primary care physicians who are responsible for close to half of all dispensed opioid prescriptions. The guidelines detail that opioids like Lortab should be used as a short-term treatment, as opposed to a long-term option, because the longer someone takes opioids the more likely they are to become addicted. The CDC advises doctors to use caution.

Any time you take an opioid, there is the potential to develop a dependence and tolerance, and the longer you use them, the more likely this is to happen. What this means is that if you have a physical dependence on an opioid like Lortab, you will experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop using it.

Tolerance and dependence are two intertwined concepts. First, a tolerance develops when your brain and body become used to Lortab or another opioid, and you need to take higher doses to get the same effect, whether that effect is pain relief or to feel high. As you develop a tolerance and take higher doses, you’re putting yourself at risk not just for addiction, but also for an overdose or acute liver failure because of the acetaminophen in Lortab.

Dependence means that a person is in a state of relying on the drug. If the person stops using the drug, especially if abruptly, the person will experience withdrawal symptoms from opioids. Symptoms of withdrawal from opioids can include aches and pains, diarrhea, vomiting, insomnia, chills, and involuntary movements of your legs.

Addiction is a disease of the brain which is characterized by compulsions regarding a substance. Someone who is addicted to an opioid like Lortab might experience cravings, the tendency to feel uninterested in things other than the drug or their behavior or lifestyle might change. It’s also important to note that you can be physically dependent on opioids including Lortab without being addicted, and often physicians will use a tapering schedule to get people off these medicines.

So, to answer, “Is Lortab an opioid? ” yes,  it’s an opioid. The opioid hydrocodone is combined with acetaminophen to make Lortab, and using this pain reliever has the risks associated with using opioids in general including addiction and dependence.

Is Lortab an Opioid: What Kind of Drug is Lortab?
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