Lortab ® is a narcotic pain reliever (opiate type) used in treatment of moderate to severe pain. Lortab ® is a combination of Hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Hydrocodone works on opiate receptors in the brain to provide pain relief while acetaminophen increases the effects of Hydrocodone.

Lortab ® is used as a PRN, or as needed for pain. Do not increase your dosage or take more often as this medication may become habit forming. Lortab is a narcotic pain reliever that is used to treat moderate to moderately severe pain. It is also marketed under other brand names, including Vicodin, Norco, Lorcet, Anexsia, Maxidone and Zydone. Hydrocodone is the narcotic component of the drug, attaching to opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord to block pain.

Acetaminophen is a non-narcotic pain reliever that decreases the formation of prostaglandins and increases pain-relieving power. The analgesic drug treats pain but is also an antitussive, which helps suppress dry, chronic coughing. Hydrocodone can be habit-forming if not used as prescribed. It is derived from the opium plant and is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance in the U.S., meaning it has the potential to be abused and cause dependence.

Warnings on Use of Lortab

Lortab is intended to be taken orally in tablet, capsule and liquid form. Crushing, chewing or snorting opiate drugs can lead to severe side effects or overdose. As with other opiates, warnings from manufacturers say Lortab should not be taken more often or in larger doses than what is prescribed. Anyone who has more than three alcoholic drinks per day or cirrhosis of the liver should talk to a doctor before taking any medication with acetaminophen. An overdose of acetaminophen can cause serious harm to the liver. The maximum recommended amount of acetaminophen for an adult is 1,000 mg per dose and 4,000 mg in a day.

Do not combine any prescription drug with acetaminophen with any over-the-counter medications containing it. Doctors recommend knowing the amount of acetaminophen in each medication you take. Lortab can impair motor skills, affecting reaction time, and can cause changes in mood and thought processes. Warnings on the prescription say care should be taken when driving or performing other tasks that require alertness.

Lortab Side Effects

Constipation, upset stomach, nausea, dizziness and dry mouth are considered among the most commonly reported side effects. Less common, but more serious, side effects include allergic reaction, clammy skin, seizures, extreme weakness, unconsciousness, jaundice, bleeding, bruising, decreased appetite, hot flashes, rash, itching, swelling, hearing loss, decreased sex drive and muscle twitches. Because of the hydrocodone, Lortab can also depress the central nervous system. Other side effects, which may attract some recreational users, include extreme relaxation, euphoria and drowsiness.

Tolerance, Addiction and Withdrawal

When taken as directed, Lortab can be a useful tool in pain relief. Prolonged use of Lortab and other opiates can lead to tolerance and dependence. Tolerance occurs when the drug builds up in the system, requiring people to take more and more to achieve the same pain-relieving effects. A tell-tale sign of dependence is a strong craving for the drug. Once addicted, withdrawal symptoms can set in. They include muscle and bone pain, insomnia, restlessness, diarrhea, vomiting, other flu-like symptoms and involuntary leg movements. Overdosing on Lortab or other opiates can be fatal. Kicking a Lortab addiction can be difficult. Many users delay treatment because of a fear of withdrawal. Numerous treatment options are available on an in-patient or out-patient basis for opiate dependence. They include hospital-based detoxification, rehabilitation, faith or therapy-based programs and rapid drug detox.


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