What is Lortab Used For?
There are so many prescription pain medicines available that people often have questions as to what each of them is and what they do. One commonly prescribed medicine is called Lortab, which is a brand name. The brand name and generic versions contain hydrocodone bitartrate, which is made from codeine, and acetaminophen.
Lortab works by binding to opioid receptors, which we’ll discuss more below, and it’s prescribed in varying strengths, primarily based on the amount of hydrocodone, but also sometimes the strengths vary based on the amount of acetaminophen. Lortab tablet strengths include 2.5, 5, 7.5 and 10 mg, which go up in strength based on the number.
So what is Lortab used for and what does Lortab treat?
As mentioned, it’s a controlled substance only available by prescription. It is a pain medicine, and because of the hydrocodone, it can also be used for the treatment of a cough. Most often Lortab is used for the treatment of pain ranging from moderate to moderately severe, and it’s usually for short-term pain. Short-term pain can include pain resulting from surgery, an injury or in some cases, a dental procedure.
In some less common circumstances, Lortab may also be used for the treatment of chronic pain, cancer pain, recurring pain or migraines. There are some instances where Lortab may be prescribed in ways that it’s not necessarily approved for. One reason was touched on above, and that’s coughing, but in some cases, it may be used to treat insomnia, although again, this isn’t an approved condition Lortab is used for.
There are some people who should not use Lortab, and these people include:
- People with breathing problems or asthma
- People with a condition called paralytic ileus, which is a bowel obstruction
- Anyone with a history of abusing drugs or alcohol or addiction problems
Other people who should alert their doctor of conditions that could impact whether or not Lortab is right for them include people with a history of mental illness including depression, a history of head injuries or seizures, liver or kidney disease, a blockage in the stomach or intestines or if they use a sedative or benzodiazepine medication.
One of the biggest things to keep in mind when researching what is Lortab used for is the fact that as with other narcotic opioids, it suppresses the central nervous system and respiration. This means that people who have a history of breathing problems, or who are older or debilitated may have severe side effects related to breathing.
Also, there is generally not enough research as to whether or not Lortab is safe during pregnancy, but it is known that when women use opioids like hydrocodone when pregnant their baby can be born dependent on the drug and go through withdrawal.
So, the simple answer to “what is Lortab used for” is pain, but how does it work?
Since Lortab is an opioid, it binds to the opioid receptors in the central nervous system. When someone takes Lortab, the opioid component of the medicine passes the blood-brain barrier and then triggers the release of dopamine, which is a feel-good brain chemical. When this happens, the pain signals aren’t necessarily blocked, but instead, the person’s pain tolerance is higher, and how they feel and experience pain is altered.
With the addition of the acetaminophen to block pain signals, Lortab and other combination medicines like it are very effective for treating pain.
Unfortunately, there is also the risk of addiction and dependence, so what Lortab is used for should be limited and carefully weighed by physicians. All opioids have a risk of addiction and dependence, even when they’re taken as prescribed. Some people start abusing them after they’re prescribed these drugs, and others never have a prescription and only use them recreationally.
You can reduce your risk of abuse or addiction by following your prescription, and it’s critical never to take more than what you’re directed to by your doctor or take it more often than you are supposed to.
Along with the risk of addiction, since Lortab contains acetaminophen, it can cause liver damage when you take too much.
Some of the general side effects regardless of what Lortab is used for include nausea, vomiting, constipation, dizziness, anxiety, mood changes, lightheadedness, problems urinating, itching and rash. More severe side effects include tightening of the chest and slowed or irregular breathing.
Have more questions about Lortab abuse?Read the most frequently asked questions
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