Lortab vs. Norco for Pain: What is the Difference?


There are many different pain medications available. People frequently have questions about the differences and similarities between these prescription drugs, such as. the differences in Lortab vs. Norco and how they compare.

Below we highlight what both Lortab and Norco are, and provide a comparison of the two prescription pain medicines

Lortab vs. Norco for Pain: What is the Difference?
Lortab is a prescription medicine that combines hydrocodone and acetaminophen for pain relief. It’s a brand name, and there are generic versions available (hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen). Some of the other brand names for Lortab include:

  • Anexsia
  • Ceta Plus
  • Co-Gesic
  • Dolorex Forte
  • Hycet
  • Lorcet Maxidone
  • Vicodin HP
  • Zydone

The combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen is given to patients for the treatment of pain ranging from moderate to severe, and the hydrocodone component of Lortab is an opioid. The acetaminophen is a pain reliever that works differently than an opioid, and it doesn’t become habit-forming, but it can cause serious or even deadly side effects when it’s used in excess, including liver damage and acute liver failure. Hydrocodone is part of a class of medicines called narcotic analgesics, and it impacts the central nervous system not just to relieve pain, but also helps with a cough.

There are different versions of Lortab available including oral tablets and Lortab elixir, which is a liquid solution. Regardless of the type of Lortab you’re prescribed to take, it’s essential to follow instructions exactly.

There are varying strengths of Lortab that determine dosing, as do individual factors such as severity of pain and body weight. As an example, adults with moderately severe pain would likely be directed to take one or two capsules as needed for pain every four to six hours, with no more than eight capsules in a day. For the oral dosage, also called liquid Lortab or Lortab elixir, adults might be directed to take 11.25 mL every four to six hours as needed, with no more than 67.5 mL per day. Your intake should only be based on your doctor’s instructions.

Since we’re looking at Lortab vs. Norco, and what the differences are, we’ll also cover the specifics of Norco. Norco is very similar to Lortab, which we’ll detail a bit more below.

First and foremost, Norco is also a combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen, and hydrocodone is an opioid pain medicine. Norco is used for moderate to moderately severe pain.

When comparing Lortab vs. Norco, consider the following:

  • Both Lortab and Norco contain hydrocodone, which is a controlled substance regulated by the DEA, indicating that it does have a potential for abuse and addiction. This is why it’s important for people to follow their doctor’s directions exactly when taking either of these medicines.
  • Acetaminophen is in both Lortab and Norco, and the brand name of this is Tylenol. The inclusion of acetaminophen in both of these prescription drugs is another reason why following dosage instructions is critical. When too much acetaminophen is taken, it can cause liver damage and acute liver failure. In fact, many doctors warn that people are more likely to overdose on acetaminophen before they do on the hydrocodone component of Lortab and Norco.
  • The combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen makes for an effective pain reliever, and the combination allows these medicines to be stronger than they would if someone were to take either hydrocodone or acetaminophen alone.

So, based on the above information, when looking at Lortab vs. Norco, they are very similar. One of the primary differences you’ll see is the amount and ratio of hydrocodone to acetaminophen. For example, with Lortab, the amount of acetaminophen is usually more than what’s in Norco, while the amount of hydrocodone is usually the same.

Lortab comes in three strengths, while Norco comes in two strengths. Lortab also has the highest amount of hydrocodone available in the strongest prescription.

Also relevant to looking at Lortab vs. Norco is the fact that you can usually take more Norco in a day than Lortab because of the lower amount of acetaminophen in Norco. It would take less Lortab to meet your maximum amount of acetaminophen for the day than it would with Norco.

Another drug that’s similar to Norco and Lortab is Vicodin, and sometimes that is the preferred prescription pain reliever among the three because it tends to be the cheapest and offers the same effects. The side effects of Lortab,. Norco, and Vicodin are similar to one another and can include nausea, vomiting, and drowsiness. Also, these medicines are addictive, and when used for a period of time they will create dependence, which means that when you stop using them they will require weaning or taking smaller and smaller doses until you gradually stop altogether.

Lortab vs. Norco for Pain: What is the Difference?
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