Lortab Addiction and Abuse
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2017 around 58 opioid prescriptions were written for every 100 Americans. It was mentioned that healthcare providers reported concerns about opioid-related risks of addiction and overdose for their patients. Their concerns are justified because almost 70 percent of the more than 67,000 drug overdose deaths in 2018 involved an opioid. There is a serious problem in the United States involving prescription medications that contain opioid drugs in them.
Lortab is a pain-relieving medication that contains hydrocodone which is an opioid drug. Due to the euphoric effects of opioids, they are commonly abused, which often causes addiction.
What Is Lortab?
What is Lortab and what is Lortab used for? Lortab is a prescription medication that is used to relieve pain ranging from moderate to intense. It comes in tablet form that can only be obtained at the pharmacy after being given a prescription from a family doctor. It contains two main ingredients – acetaminophen and hydrocodone. Acetaminophen, also known as Tylenol, is a weaker pain reliever that amps up the effects of hydrocodone. Hydrocodone is an opioid. Just like other opioid medications, Lortab works by activating opioid receptors on nerve cells. Then, it binds to those opioid receptors in the brain and the nervous system. This signals the release of dopamine and other neurotransmitters which block feelings of pain and cause euphoric feelings instead.
Is Lortab Addictive?
If you look at the bottle of a Lortab prescription, there will be a boxed warning mentioning the risk of addiction, abuse, and misuse. A boxed warning is the strongest warning that the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires. It signifies that based on medical studies the medication poses a serious risk of harmful life-threatening effects. The package states that Lortab exposes people to the risk of opioid addiction, abuse, and misuse, which can lead to overdose and death.
The two main ingredients in Lortab are acetaminophen and hydrocodone. Acetaminophen is not addictive when taken for long periods of time. However, it is known to cause liver failure when given in excessive doses. On the other hand, Hydrocodone is an opioid pain medication (narcotic) that acts on the central nervous system to relieve pain. When hydrocodone is used for extended periods of time it can cause mental or physical dependence. Physical dependence can lead to serious withdrawal side effects if treatment suddenly stops. Severe withdrawal side effects can be prevented by gradually reducing the dose over a length of time before completely stopping treatment.
According to a study posted in Frontiers of Pharmacology, hydrocodone is one of the most prescribed pain-relieving drugs and is one of the most abused drugs by the general public. Hydrocodone is the second drug of abuse in the United States but first preferred by women.
Since hydrocodone belongs to the family of opioid drugs or narcotics it is known to be highly addictive. When mixed with acetaminophen, the other main ingredient in Lortab, hydrocodone, the effects are increased.
What Are the Side Effects of Lortab?
Common Lortab side effects are drowsiness, ringing in your ears, drowsiness, anxiety, headaches, upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, constipation, blurred vision, unclear thinking, or dry mouth. These are not serious side effects and will go away within a few days.
However, there are a few serious side effects of Lortab. Lortab can cause an allergic reaction, seek medication attention immediately if you experience hives, swelling in your face, lips, tongue, or throat, or difficulty breathing. One less common side effect from taking Lortab is a bad skin reaction (a rash that spreads causing blistering and peeling) caused by the acetaminophen in the medication that if left untreated could be fatal. It is critical that you call your doctor immediately if you experience light-headedness, slow breathing and heartbeat, seizures, confusion, infertility, easily bruised or bleeding, liver issues (itching or yellowing skin), low cortisol levels (vomiting, fatigue, or dizziness), or serotonin syndrome (agitation, hallucinations, fever, fast heart rate, or muscle stiffness).
Lortab overdose is a serious risk for someone who decides to abuse the medication. This is because the main ingredients in Lortab are hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Given how hydrocodone is an opioid and acetaminophen is known to increase the potency of hydrocodone, experiencing an overdose is not unlikely. Symptoms of a Lortab overdose are blue or purple-colored lips and fingernails, coma, dizziness, fatigue, cold and clammy skin, shallow breathing, muscle twitches, low blood pressure, small pupils, liver failure, nausea, vomiting, and a weak pulse. If you or someone you love is experiencing a Lortab overdose seek medical attention immediately.
Find Help for Lortab Addiction Today
In order to make a full recovery from a Lortab addiction, treatment needs to incorporate several components such as detox, counseling, medications, and aftercare. Detoxing at a rehab clinic will help ease the pain associated with the withdrawal symptoms. Detoxing gets the drug out of your system so you can focus on the next stage in the recovery process. Medications are available to assist with every stage in the recovery process. For example, naltrexone is used to prevent other opioids from affecting the brain and decreases the desire to take opioids. Buprenorphine and methadone are used to relieve withdrawal symptoms and cravings to help you avoid relapse. Behavioral therapy helps you stop using Lortab by altering your unhealthy patterns of thinking and learning new strategies to manage your cravings and avoid situations or cues that could result in relapse.
Don’t make recovery harder than it needs to be. If you or someone you love is suffering from an addiction to Lortab finding a high-quality rehab facility can provide the support needed to overcome this addiction. Once you choose to attend addiction rehab, you will be provided help in the detox process, counseling, medications, and aftercare that will enable you to experience life-long abstinence from drug use. Besides all the wonderful treatments they provide, you will also receive peer and trained professional support in a judgment-free environment to help you kick your addiction for good.
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- Preclinical and clinical pharmacology of hydrocodone for chronic pain: A mini-review. Frontiers in Pharmacology.
Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.
Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.