Lortab is a combination medication prescribed for the treatment of moderate or severe pain.

The medication contains a semi-synthetic opioid (hydrocodone). Like all opioids, Lortab has the potential for misuse, abuse, and addiction. You should only use Lortab as directed by your prescribing doctor.


Lortab is a prescription painkiller containing the following ingredients:

  • Hydrocodone: One of the most prescribed opioids for the treatment of moderate and severe pain.

  • Acetaminophen: A common ingredient in many OTC pain relievers. The effects of acetaminophen are intensified when the substance is combined with hydrocodone in the form of Lortab.

The two ingredients work to relieve pain in different ways. Hydrocodone blocks the CNS (central nervous system) from sending pain signals by binding to opioid receptors that occur naturally in the brain. Acetaminophen, by contrast, weakens the chemical in the brain responsible for stimulating pain nerves.

Lortab is available in liquid formulation. If you encounter any pills or tablets marked Lortab, these will not be legitimate.

Lortab oral elixir contains 10mg of hydrocodone and 300mg of acetaminophen per 15ml. The formulation also has a 7% alcohol content.

You can find tablet forms of combination medications containing hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Lortab 10, for instance, contains 10mg of hydrocodone and 500mg of acetaminophen.

Lortab is often misused and abused by any of the following methods:

  • Crushed into a powder and snorted.

  • Mixed with water and injected intravenously.

  • Used without a supporting prescription.

  • Taken in greater quantities than prescribed.

  • Black market Lortab products obtained without a prescription.

Snorting or injecting Lortab are both especially damaging routes of administration. Combining Lortab with Alcohol can be especially dangerous

CDC data shows that around one in twenty people prescribed opioid-based medications will abuse that medication and risk developing an addiction in the form of opioid use disorder.

If you use Lortab other than as directed, tolerance to the medication can rapidly form. When this occurs, you will require more of the medication to deliver the same rewarding and pain-relieving effects.

 Increasing the dosage or the frequency of dosages can accelerate the development of physical dependence. If you are dependent on Lortab, you will need the medication just to feel normal and you will experience intensely uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms without the substance in your system. 

Tolerance and withdrawal are both diagnostic criteria for addiction. In the event of opioid use disorder, you will compulsively use Lortab regardless of the adverse outcomes triggered.


Abusing Lortab or any other opioid long-term is characterized by a variety of signs and symptoms, some physical and others psychological.

If you abuse Lortab, you will also increase your risk of experiencing a fatal opioid overdose.

These are the most common physical Lortab abuse symptoms:

  • Headaches

  • Drowsiness

  • Slurred speech

  • Low blood pressure levels

  • Dilated pupils

  • Slow body movements

  • Low body temperature

  • Reduced heart rate

  • Decreased sensitivity to pain

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Weight loss

  • Stomach cramps

  • Diarrhea

  • Muscle pain

  • Joint pain

  • Seizure

  • Coma

When you take an opioid-based medication like Lortab, it causes an increased dopamine release in the brain. Dopamine is a chemical messenger – a neurotransmitter – that stimulates pathways in the brain related to reward. This is responsible for the cravings associated with opioid abuse as your brain wants to reexperience the pleasurable feelings brought on by Lortab.

Over time, those pathways will be further damaged by opioids, resulting in permanent changes to this area of the brain.

These are the most common psychological Lortab abuse symptoms:

  • Pronounced mood swings

  • Depressive episodes

  • Anxiety

  • Disorientation

  • Confusion

  • Difficulty with focus

  • Noticeable behavioral changes

  • Altered perception of reality

  • Intense cravings for Lortab

  • Tolerance to opioids

  • Inability to control use of Lortab

  • Withdrawal symptoms when Lortab’s effects subside


If Lortab is used long-term, even for legitimate medical use, this will cause tolerance and physical dependence to form, as outlined above. This is perhaps the primary route to Lortab abuse.

When Lortab addiction develops, this is diagnosed as mild, moderate, or severe according to the number of criteria present from DSM5-TR .DSM5-TR is the most recent version of APA’s diagnostic tool (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders).

While addiction is the leading risk associated with abusing opioids, the effects of Lortab abuse can also manifest both short-term and long-term.


CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) report that these are the most common short-term effects of opioid abuse:

  • Sedation

  • Lethargy

  • Nausea

  • Drowsiness

  • Respiratory depression


While the short-term effects of opioids can be dangerous in some situations – when driving or operating machinery, for example – it is the long-term effects that are most damaging.

Long-term Lortab abuse can prompt the following:

  • Problems in interpersonal relationships

  • Financial stress

  • Legal issues stemming from substance abuse

  • Cognitive impairment

  • Complications in personal and professional life

  • Lowered life expectancy

  • Opioid overdose

  • Addiction (opioid use disorder)


Overdosing on Lortab can induce respiratory depression. If this occurs, breathing will stop, either partially or completely. Respiratory depression is a form of suffocation that should be treated as a medical emergency.

Administering the FDA-approved opioid antagonist naloxone can reverse the effects of a Lortab overdose.

These are the most common symptoms of opioid overdose:

  • Dizziness

  • Lightheadedness

  • Blue tinge to lips

  • Confusion

  • Pinprick pupils

  • Fatigue

  • Weakness

  • Drowsiness

  • Loss of consciousness

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Irregular or slow breathing

  • Stomach or muscle spasms

Lortab abuse and liver damage are also closely interrelated. Taking too much of this medication can cause liver damage due to the acetaminophen content.


If it’s already too late and you are addicted to Lortab, it is generally advisable to engage with a supervised medical detox before an inpatient or outpatient treatment program.

Opioid detox can be uncomfortable and possibly even dangerous without medical supervision. Over the course of a week or so of hydrocodone withdrawal, any of the following symptoms may present:

  • Irritability

  • Restlessness

  • Insomnia

  • Chills

  • Anxiety

  • Congestion

  • Acute sensitivity to pain

  • Raised blood pressure levels

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Runny nose

  • Muscle aches

  • Fast heart beat

  • Tremors

  • Stomach upset

  • Sweating

Detoxing in a licensed medical detox center will streamline the severity of Lortab withdrawal symptoms and cravings. We can help you achieve this at Gratitude Lodge.


Here at Gratitude Lodge, we can help you fight back against the physical and psychological aspects of Lortab addiction at our three luxury rehabs in Southern California.

All of our treatment centers are inclusive, pet-friendly, and free of distractions or triggers. Take advantage of evidence-based treatment including:

  • MAT (medication-assisted treatment)

  • Counseling (individual and group)

  • Psychotherapy (CBT or DBT)

  • Family therapy

  • 12-step immersion program

  • Holistic therapies

For those who have a mild Lortab addiction and require more flexible programming than residential rehab, we also offer an IOP (intensive outpatient program) for Lortab addiction.

Reach out to admissions today for immediate help beating a Lortab addiction. Call 800-994-2184 right now.



Don’t Let Addiction Control You