Misusing Lortab can result in side effects beyond the drug’s typical side effects.

Lortab is a brand name, prescription pain reliever. The pain reliever’s active ingredients are hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Lortab is currently only available in a liquid syrup formulation. Along with hydrocodone and acetaminophen, Lortab also contains seven percent alcohol.

Because Lortab contains hydrocodone, people using the drug can develop an addiction if their usage strays from their prescription, or if they acquire the drug for recreational usage. Misusing Lortab can result in side effects beyond the drug’s typical side effects. As with any opioid, misuse can result in overdose and death, so care must be taken to ensure the drug is used only as intended.

Symptoms of Lortab Misuse

Hydrocodone, the opioid component of Lortab, is a painkiller and central nervous system (CNS) depressant. It’s also a Schedule II controlled substance with psychoactive properties.  If Lortab is used outside of prescribed parameters, such usage is considered misuse. Using Lortab without a prescription, taking it more often than prescribed or taking larger doses than prescribed is also misuse.

Physical Symptoms of Lortab Misuse

The hydrocodone component of Lortab binds to opioid receptors throughout the body and the central nervous system. Symptoms of hydrocodone misuse can initially include euphoria and relaxation. Lortab use is associated with many side effects due to the hydrocodone component. These effects commonly include:

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

Acetaminophen can cause damage to the liver in large doses, especially in a person who already has existing liver problems. Since Lortab also contains alcohol in the liquid formulation, the adverse liver effects can be enhanced. Adverse liver effects that may be present due to acetaminophen/alcohol toxicity may manifest as:

  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Sluggishness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eye
  • Bleeding more easily
  • Brain dysfunction

Psychological Symptoms of Lortab Misuse

The psychological effects of Lortab misuse, especially with long-term use of large doses, can lead to addiction. Compulsive, out-of-control substance use characterizes addiction. The structure and function of the brain can change with misuse and addiction. The changes in the brain can affect a person’s life, physical health, and relationships. Lortab addiction can affect self-control, judgment, decision-making, learning, and memory.

Lortab abuse  is a misuse in which a person misuses the drug to get a high, euphoric feeling instead of for a medical reason.

Other Lortab Side Effects

Other side effects related to Lortab use or misuse include:

  • Developing tolerance to Lortab (larger and larger doses are needed to achieve the desired effect)
  • Withdrawal symptoms like sweating, nausea, vomiting, restlessness, diarrhea and body aches
  • Seeking out more potent opioids, including black market drugs

Signs of Lortab Addiction

Because addiction can develop, there are certain red-flag signs that you can look for when Lortab addiction is suspected. Signs someone has a Lortab addiction include:

  • Compulsive, out-of-control Lortab use
  • Attempting to quit but being unable to
  • Putting oneself or others in dangerous situations
  • Developing a tolerance and dependence
  • Using Lortab even when there are negative outcomes or health effects
  • Making Lortab use a top priority
  • Declining performance at school or work
  • Failing to meet responsibilities
  • Withdrawal from daily life
  • Relationship problems
  • Financial and legal problems related to substance use

Lortab Addiction Intervention

Opioid addiction is a serious circumstance that should be addressed by professionals in a safe and supportive environment. Once addiction develops, attempting to quit “cold turkey” can result in life-threatening outcomes. For the best chance at sustained sobriety enlist the assistance of a professional treatment facility.

If you or a loved one live with a Lortab addiction, call The Recovery Village today to speak to a representative about how individualized addiction treatment can work for you. You deserve a healthier future, call today.

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Editor – Thomas Christiansen
With over a decade of content experience, Tom produces and edits research articles, news and blog posts produced for Advanced Recovery Systems. Read more
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Medically Reviewed By – Christina Caplinger, RPh
Christina Caplinger is a licensed pharmacist in both Colorado and Idaho and is also a board-certified pharmacotherapy specialist. Read more

Dailymed. “Lortab (syrup).” November 2018. Accessed April 16, 2019.

US Food and Drug Administration. “Combating Misuse and Abuse of Prescription Drugs.” September 2018. Accessed April 16, 2019.

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.