Lortab is a brand name for a drug made of a combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen.
Also known as Lorcet, Noco, or Vicodin, Lortab is a controlled medication that’s prescribed to treat severe to chronic pain. Specifically, it belongs to a class of drugs called opioids, which are highly potent and addictive narcotics. One of the many risks of long-term Lortab use is dependence and withdrawal when use is stopped. Today we’re looking into Lortab withdrawal symptoms and safe treatment options for them.
How Does Lortab Work?
One of the main ingredients in Lortab is hydrocodone, which is the opioid in the equation. Acetaminophen, on the other hand, is a common pain reliever that’s sometimes mixed with narcotics in controlled doses to alleviate severe pain. Like other opioids, the hydrocodone in Lortab blocks pain signaling by attaching to opioid receptors in the brain, spinal cord, gut, and other areas of the body.
The acetaminophen in Lortab is added simply to boost the effects of hydrocodone. This combination allows for a stronger sense of pain relief without having to prescribe the individual high doses of hydrocodone. Unfortunately, opioids like hydrocodone have a horrible reputation for being highly addictive, especially when they’re used for long periods.
Lortab is addictive because the narcotic in it – hydrocodone – also activates the release of dopamine in the central nervous system, activating the area of the brain associated with reward and pleasure. So not only can this drug alleviate chronic pain, but it can also produce a high marked by euphoria, pleasure, and sedation when taken in high doses.
What Is Lortab Dependence?
Lortab dependence can occur even in people who take it as prescribed and as directed by a doctor. Physical dependence on a drug occurs when the person experiences withdrawals when their dosage is reduced, or they haven’t taken the medication for a certain period. Withdrawal symptoms are the culmination of the body’s and brain's reaction to a sudden reduction in or lack of the particular drug.
Lortab dependence is most common in patients who take it for long periods. However, it can also occur as a result of misuse or abuse. Considering the euphoria opioids are known to cause, it’s not uncommon for people to become addicted to their prescription opioids, an unfortunate circumstance that’s become apparent in the nation’s current drug crisis.
With that said, while Lortab dependence does not necessarily mean that someone is addicted to the drug, it is a reason to be especially cautious with how the medication is used. If you’re taking Lortab and notice that you require a higher dose to experience relief from your symptoms, then you may be developing a tolerance to the drug. It’s important that you do not take more doses than you’ve been prescribed, as this increases your likelihood of dependence and addiction.
Lortab Withdrawal Symptoms
The duration of the Lortab or hydrocodone withdrawal timeline depends on the doses the person takes and how long they’ve been taking it. Lortab withdrawals occur because the brain and body become dependent on the drug to function normally. When the person isn’t taking it, any functions that had been sedated – such as pain and excitation – will present themselves in various symptoms.
Symptoms or side effects of Lortab withdrawal may include:
- Intense cravings for Lortab/hydrocodone
- Mood swings
- Body aches
- Nausea or vomiting
- Stomach upset or abdominal pain
- Appetite changes
- Flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, and runny nose
- Dilated pupils
- Suicidal thoughts
- Joint and muscle pain
- Excessive yawning
- Teary eyes
It’s important to avoid at-home detox or quick attempts to detox from hydrocodone, as any withdrawal attempts that aren’t medically supervised can result in severe and even life-threatening withdrawals. Opioids are one of the most difficult substances to detox from, so our Pompano substance abuse treatment center advises medically monitored detox as your first and safest option.
How Long Do Lortab Withdrawal Symptoms Last?
Lortab withdrawal symptoms usually occur 6 to 12 hours after the last dose, peak after about 72 hours, and can last anywhere from two weeks to a month. However, the Lortab detox time for recovery is usually about 5 to 7 days.
Again, how long withdrawals last depends greatly on the dose the person regularly took and how long they’ve been taking the drug. Any underlying medical problems like liver or kidney impairment can also prolong the withdrawal process, as these are the organs through which drugs are metabolized and eliminated from the body.
Treatment for Lortab Addiction and Withdrawal
In addition to detox programs offered at various Banyan rehab locations, our Pompano Beach, Florida, drug rehab offers prescription drug addiction treatment to help people who are dependent on drugs like Lortab or hydrocodone recover from the physical and psychological toll of drug abuse. Considering the state of the opioid epidemic and how many lives have been affected by opioid abuse, our facility recognizes the growing need for opioid treatment programs.
With that said, attempting to detox from drugs as impactful as opioids can be challenging. Oftentimes, the discomfort and pain of withdrawals cause users to relapse, further stunting their journey to sobriety. Our detox programs at Banyan and addiction services offered at our Pompano drug rehab can help you or a loved one safely get through withdrawals and increase their chances of achieving long-term abstinence from drugs.
Related Reading: How Long Does Hydrocodone Stay in Your System? Hydrocodone and Alcohol: A Recipe for Disaster