Lortab Withdrawal Symptoms


Lortab is a brand name for a drug which mixes hydrocodone and acetaminophen. It is prescribed for pain associated with mild to moderate injuries and illnesses. Lortab is a habit forming drug as it contains hydrocodone which is classified as an opiate. For this reason, most physicians use caution in prescribing this medication and reserve its use for specific indications. Patients are warned against dependency and advised to take this drug carefully and only as prescribed. Unfortunately, not all patients heed this warning and dependency does ensue.

What Cause People to Become Dependant on Lortab?

Because this drug contains an opiate, it has properties which cause a euphoric feeling of pleasure and overall well being. Some people who have been addicted to Lortab have reported feeling full of energy and much more outgoing when taking the drug. After a long period of time, the body begins to depend on the drug’s ability to enhance mood and dependency occurs. In addition, the longer a person takes this drug the more tolerant they become, causing them to rely on much higher doses in order to “feel good”. Unfortunately, there are also issues of physical dependency which make discontinuing use without medical supervision difficult, as well as dangerous. When a person stops taking Lortab after a prolonged period of use there will be many symptoms of withdrawal.

What a Person Should Know About Stopping Lortab Use

A person who discontinues any sort of opiate drug, including Lortab can become violently ill if no medical treatment is received during the detoxification process. It is important that anyone who expresses a desire to stop taking Lortab, especially if they have been taking it for an extended period of time, be directed to a professional detox center or hospital. There have been many complications attributed to untreated opiate detox such as stroke, heart attack and even death. Discontinuing this drug “cold turkey” is not recommended. Individuals detoxifying from the drug should be closely monitored and given a variety of medications to help alleviate symptoms and make the transition off the drug a bit less painful.

Can a Person Have Mild Detox Symptoms?

A person who has only been taking Lortab in moderate amounts for a shorter length of time may not have as much trouble detoxifying from the drug as a person who has been taking large doses for a prolonged period. However, there is no way to determine how severe the symptoms may be for each individual. While there are some people who may not be affected as adversely as the next, it is never a good idea to guess in matters such as these. Just because a person does not believe they will need medical attention during their detox period does not necessarily make it true. Each case is different and the drug affects each person differently. For this reason, everyone who develops symptoms of withdrawal when discontinuing use of Lortab is urged to seek medical assistance immediately.

When to Seek Medical Care

There are a variety of symptoms involved with the detox from opiate class drugs such as Lortab. Usually the first signs of withdrawal are psychological as the person feels “let down” without the drug in his/her system, thereby causing strong cravings for the drug. One to three days after use is discontinued the onset of physical symptoms will emerge. Many people report the first symptoms to be much like those associated with a cold or flu. Body aches, muscle cramping, runny nose, fever, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting are among some of the signs of withdrawal. In addition, most patients withdrawing from opiate drugs will have dilated pupils, profuse sweating and in some cases, disorientation and confusion. Because there is a risk of further complication, anyone experiencing any of these symptoms should be seen by a qualified medical professional right away.

What Is the Medical Detoxification Process?

There are a couple of methods used in medical detox from opiates such as Lortab. One method of detox involves close monitoring in combination with drugs used to regulate blood pressure and other vital signs, as well as medications to treat the symptoms, making the process a bit more comfortable for the patient. The second form of detox is much more aggressive and known as “rapid detox”. This form of detox is done in a hospital under general anesthesia. The patient is closely monitored by medical professionals such as nursing teams and anesthesiologists and given drugs which have been designed to accelerate the process of removing opiates from the body. This treatment is also used for detoxification in other drugs in the opiate classification such as Heroin, Vicodin and Oxycontin.

Once the physical aspects of the addiction have been taken care of and the patient is medically cleared, ongoing addiction treatment should be sought. Many people make the mistake of believing they will be fine once they have “kicked” the habit and purged the drug out of their systems. This is not true. Once a person has developed a dependency to any drug, whether it is prescription or street level, there is always a chance of relapse. In order to prevent this, it is suggested that people with addiction issues become actively involved in a 12 step program. If a 12 step program is not desired, there are many other forms of addiction therapy which can be helpful. Some people turn to their churches or other organizations. Addiction is a disease and the most important thing is that the person realizes this and treats it as such. Just like a person suffering from diabetes would not stop taking insulin, a drug addict should not cease therapy for any length of time.

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Gary Wickman

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  • I hoped to find information relative to my job reviewing medical records but need more specificity in terms and periods of time. How long is "a long period of time?" A month? Six months? A year? How many days/weeks/months need an individual take this medication before dependency occurs? A week? A month? Please provide specific information.

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Gary Wickman