Lortab is a pain-relieving medication that combines both hydrocodone and acetaminophen for powerful pain fighting abilities. As a controlled substance, Lortab is available only by prescription and doctors are warned against prescribing it for chronic pain because it contains an opioid. The opioid in Lortab is called hydrocodone and like other opioids, it is good for relieving pain, but it can also create a high in the user and it carries with it the potential for addiction.

There are a variety of other hydrocodone/acetaminophen combinations including Vicodin, Lorcet, Norco, and Hycet, but Lortab tends to be one of the most commonly prescribed. Generic hydrocodone/acetaminophen is covered by most insurance plans as well as Medicare, but Lortab tends to be less expensive than some other opioid options.

Hydrocodone not only relieves pain by impacting the central nervous system, but it can also stop coughing.

People often wonder what Lortab looks like, and what the yellow Lortab is, so below we’ll provide a general overview of opioids including Lortab and how they work, as well as what yellow Lortab is and other ways Lortab might look.


The opioid in Lortab is hydrocodone. Hydrocodone is an opioid pain medicine, which is part of a larger legal class of medications called narcotics, prescribed to treat pain ranging from moderate to severe.

Opioids like hydrocodone pass through the blood-brain barrier. Opioids then bind to opioid receptors. Once they’re on those receptors, they induce signals to the brain and thus create their effect. This effect blocks pain and changes how the person taking the medication senses it, but it can also have adverse side effects. For example, opioids slow the central nervous system, including respiration.

At the same time, when medicines like Lortab bind to opioid receptors they can also trigger a flood of dopamine much larger than what can happen naturally, and that’s what delivers the high some people experience when taking opioids, particularly in large doses.

That euphoric feeling from opioids is one of the reasons they’re so addictive. Your brain’s reward system, once it’s flooded with dopamine, feels like it needs to recreate that feeling, and your brain enters into a cycle of learning to repeat the drug-seeking behaviors that led to the feeling.

Your brain is wired to want to continue activities associated with pleasure or reward, and the activation of the brain’s reward circuit with opioids, including Lortab, is important to understand.

Addiction is a disease of the brain, so it’s psychological in many ways, but yellow Lortab and white Lortab can also create physical dependence. This refers to someone whose body is unable to perform its usual functions without the presence of the drug and can occur with or without addiction. After taking it for a period of time, someone with a dependence would experience withdrawal symptoms if they were to stop taking it suddenly.

Lortab Doses and Yellow Lortab

Lortab is available in varying strengths. These usually start at 2.5 mg/325 mg. The first number refers to how much of the opioid component, hydrocodone, is in the dose, and the second number refers to the acetaminophen content.

The strengths of the hydrocodone in Lortab go up from 2.5 to 5 mg, then 7.5 mg, and the highest strength Lortab is 10 mg. Yellow Lortab is the 10  mg strength version of the prescription painkiller. Yellow Lortab is oblong and usually scored and imprinted with a V on one side. Yellow Lortab may also have other imprints on it. In addition to yellow Lortab, it may also be white with pink specks and oblong, which is the lowest 2.5 mg strength. Other strengths of Lortab tend to be white in most cases, or sometimes 10 mg Lortab may also be pink.

Identifying yellow Lortab, as well as pink and white versions of the pill, can be important to make sure you’re always taking the correct medicines. Lortab should always be kept out of the reach of children and also people who have a potential to steal it in order to abuse it recreationally.

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Editor – Nicole LaNeve
Nicole leads a team of passionate, experienced writers, editors and other contributors to create and share accurate, trustworthy information about drug and alcohol addiction, treatment and recovery for The Recovery Village and all Advanced Recovery Systems sites. Read more
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Medically Reviewed By – Dr. Kevin Wandler, MD
Kevin Wandler holds multiple positions at Advanced Recovery Systems. In addition to being the founding and chief medical director at Advanced Recovery Systems, he is also the medical director at The Recovery Village Ridgefield and at The Recovery Village Palmer Lake. Read more
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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.