If you are in an immediate emergency, call 911. If you are looking for more information on substance abuse treatment and it is not a medical emergency, call our 24/7 Lortab Helpline at 877-542-1036.
Lortab was a prescription pain reliever that contained the opioid hydrocodone and acetaminophen, an over-the-counter pain reliever. These are the same ingredients found in Vicodin and Norco, which were both prescribed more commonly than Lortab. Lortab tablets were discontinued due to its high acetaminophen dosage, but its generic form may still be available. You may also come across an expired drug in a personal cabinet or Lortab being sold illicitly.
The Federal Drug Administration has classified these medications as Schedule II controlled substances because they contain hydrocodone. Schedule II substances have approved medical uses in the United States but are considered to have a high risk of abuse, addiction and dependence. Medications containing hydrocodone and acetaminophen, such as Lortab, may be prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain.
Fight Lortab addiction with evidence-based, expert care.
When someone uses Lortab, they may feel euphoric. These feelings can cause a reward response in the brain that may lead to addiction. Along with addiction, dependence often occurs with Lortab and other opioid-containing substances. Dependence can develop even when someone uses a prescription opioid exactly as they’re instructed by a medical professional.
Opioids affect the central nervous system (CNS). The CNS controls many of the body’s essential functions, including heart rate and breathing. With repeated exposure to the effects of an opioid like Lortab, the CNS can become dependent on the substance. If someone stops an opioid suddenly, their CNS will struggle to return to a sense of normalcy. This causes withdrawal symptoms that can range from mild to severe. The intensity of Lortab withdrawal symptoms depends on the extent of use and a person’s individual health and lifestyle. If someone was prescribed Lortab, their doctor may advise them to taper off it gradually to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
Lortab Withdrawal Symptoms
Lortab withdrawal symptoms include:
- Muscle aches and pains
- Runny nose
- Excessive sweating
- Chills or goosebumps
- Mood swings
- Suicidal thoughts
- Problems concentrating
- High blood pressure
- Restlessness or irritation
- Changes in heart rate
For the most part, Lortab withdrawal isn’t life-threatening. However, it can be very uncomfortable and difficult to go through alone. It’s not uncommon for someone to relapse if they try to stop using opioids suddenly or without medical help. Relapsing can increase the likelihood of an overdose, as a person’s tolerance can decline after a period of abstaining from opioids. If the person uses the same dose they did before stopping opioids, their body may not be able to handle the effects.
How Long Does Lortab Stay in Your System?
How long a drug stays in a person’s body depends on the half-life of the drug. The half-life is how long it takes the average person to eliminate half of the drug from their system. The half-life of hydrocodone, the opioid ingredient in Lortab, is about 3.8 hours. Hydrocodone is metabolized by the body into hydromorphone (HM), norhydrocodone (NHC) and dihydrocodeine (DHC). In a single-dose study, hydrocodone and its metabolites were detectable within two hours from the time of the dose and remained detectable for about 40 hours.
Various studies have been performed to determine how long hydrocodone and its metabolites stay in different body fluids after a single dose:
- Urine: Detectable for six to 36 hours
- Blood: Detectable for up to 24 hours
- Saliva: Detectable for up to 48 hours
- Hair: Detectable for 90 days
Several factors can affect how long a drug remains in a person’s body, such as:
- Multiple medications
- Kidney and liver function
- Other medical conditions
When someone is dependent on Lortab, they will need to undergo a period of detox when they stop taking the drug. During Lortab detox, a person’s body naturally eliminates the drug from its system and adjusts to the absence of the drug.
There are several different ways to approach Lortab detox. Some people may try to detox from Lortab on their own, which is called at-home detox. Other people might participate in an outpatient or inpatient medical detox program. During medical Lortab detox, patients are provided with clinical support, monitoring and medications when needed. Medical detox is the safest and most effective option for detox, as it helps prevent relapse and addresses uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms that arise.
Lortab Withdrawal Medications
During Lortab detox, certain prescription medications may be administered to help treat challenging withdrawal symptoms. These can include:
- Buprenorphine: Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist that attaches to the same receptors in the brain as hydrocodone. Buprenorphine can reduce or eliminate withdrawal symptoms. There is a ceiling on the effects of buprenorphine as well, so people cannot get high from it. Buprenorphine has a low potential for abuse.
- Subutex: Subutex is a combination drug with buprenorphine that can be used to treat opioid withdrawal symptoms.
- Methadone: Methadone is a weak, long-acting opioid that helps people stop using other opioids. Methadone also has abuse and addiction potential.
- Suboxone: There are versions of Suboxone that contain buprenorphine and naloxone. Naloxone helps prevent opioid abuse.
Once someone completes Lortab detox and is physically stable, they can begin addiction treatment.
Lortab Detox Timeline
The Lortab detox timeline can vary from one person to another, and certain factors can make it last longer for some people. For example, having an underlying physical or mental health condition may make the Lortab detox timeline longer. If someone has been using Lortab for a long time or regularly uses very large doses, detox may also take longer.
For most people, the side effects of Lortab withdrawal begin within 24 hours after the last dose. Early Lortab withdrawal symptoms are usually milder and can include tearing up, a runny nose and sweating. Within 72 hours, opioid withdrawal symptoms will peak in severity. Peak Lortab withdrawal symptoms include diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Cramps, depression and cravings are also possible during this time.
Most people will start to feel Lortab withdrawal symptoms disappear within seven to 10 days, but some may continue to have symptoms past this point. Longer-lasting withdrawal symptoms tend to be psychological. For example, cravings, anxiety, depression and the inability to feel pleasure may last longer than other Lortab withdrawal symptoms.
Orlando Recovery Center offers fully licensed and accredited detox and rehab treatment programs for those struggling with substance use disorders. Each day, our licensed multidisciplinary team of experts works to help people with Lortab addiction begin the first steps toward lifelong recovery. Contact us today.
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The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a 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 provider.