Lortab Addiction, Statistics, Abuse, Symptoms & Side Effects

What is Lortab?

Lortab, a narcotic pain reliever composed of two differing pain drugs (hydrocodone and acetaminophen), is one of the 200 hydrocodone products currently on the market. Lortab is considered to be a moderately addictive substance because of its hydrocodone component and is only available by prescription. Intended to function as a pain reliever, Lortab is commonly prescribed to provide relief for moderate to severe pain. Lortab comes in a tablet form, but when used for illicit purposes, it is typically crushed and either snorted or injected as a diluted form, which can create mimicking effects of Heroin, such as intense “rushes” or the sensation of being “high”. Though Lortab is not perceived as a dangerous illicit drug, it is often sought by addicts due to its similarities to Heroin and often sold in black markets, on the streets, or obtained through illegal prescriptions. Street names for Lortab are often used interchangeably with the street names of drugs with similar characteristics, like Norco and Vicodin, including “Vikes”, “Viko”, “Tabs”, and “Norco”. If you or a loved one is struggling with a Lortab addiction, you may find that the pieces of your life may be unraveling. An addiction to Lortab can reap devastating consequences of all aspects of an abuser’s life, but with proper treatment and help, life does not have to stop at this.

Lortab addiction example Teenager Looking into the Distance

Lortab Addiction Statistics

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 2.2 million people initiated the non-medical use of prescription pain relievers, such as Lortab, in 2005. A startling 60% of new users of pain pills reported that the drugs were obtained from a friend or relative for free the last time they used them [1]. Other statistics about Lortab addictions include the following:

  • In a survey completed in 2005-2006 by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the highest percentages of Lortab non-medical use were among 18-25 year olds [1].
  • In 2004, the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) found that there were nearly 1.3 million emergency department visits associated with drug abuse, with 33% of these cases involving opiate based drugs, such as Lortab [2].

These statistics continue to reveal the prevalence of a Lortab addiction and emphasize the need for effective treatment and care.

Causes of Lortab Addiction?

The beginnings of a Lortab addiction can be confusing or overwhelming to grasp. Many in the throes of an addiction may wonder how the vicious cycle began or what triggered the abusive behavior. Several factors may be responsible to the beginnings or causes of a Lortab addiction, and it is important to realize that addictions are complicated disorders. One single cause of addictions does not exist, as they are usually influenced by a variety of factors, such as physical, psychological, or social in nature. For example, a person addicted to Lortab might have a family member that has also struggled with a substance addiction, and this could possibly suggest a genetic component, or a physical cause of the addiction.

Similarly, a Lortab addiction may have developed out of a means of coping with a traumatic or emotionally stressful situation. Lack of or poor coping mechanisms may lead an individual to look for other means of dealing with difficult emotions, and an addiction to Lortab may develop as an attempt to numb pain. This would be considered a psychological cause of a Lortab addiction. Finally, a man or woman who abuses Lortab may have developed this addiction due to exposure through family and friends, peer pressure, or easy access to the drug. These would be considered social causes of a Lortab addiction. The formation of a Lortab addiction may be due to one or more of these factors. Because of these complexities, it is crucial to obtain professional help to break the cycle of a Lortab addiction.

Signs and Symptoms of Lortab Addiction

There are several signs and symptoms to help that are associated with a Lortab addiction. Are you concerned that your use of Lortab has escalated from legitimate use to illicit abuse? Do you suspect that a loved one is struggling within the throes of a Lortab addiction? Review the following signs and symptoms to learn what is commonly revealed in a Lortab addict:

  • Physical Side Effects – These include hyperventilation, paranoia, hallucinations, severe weakness, jaundice, bruising, hearing loss, clammy skin, dizziness, muscle twitches, stomach pain, and decreased urination.
  • Impact on Relationships – Men and women addicted to Lortab will suffer in their relationships and personal life due to the amount of their time and energy that is consumed with the drug. Social activities that were once enjoyed with family and friend will often be dissolved due to preoccupation with the drug.
  • Acquiring additional Lortab – Lortab addicts will act beyond measure to obtain the drug however they can. This includes through means of stealing prescriptions of Lortab or fraudulently attaining dosages of the drug.
  • Fixation with Lortab – Individuals suffering with an addiction to Lortab will often go to any means to obtain the drug, often acting out of impulse. Much of their life becomes consumed with this.

Lortab Effects

Unfortunately, the effects of a Lortab addiction are damaging and go beyond the physical consequences. The following are examples of how a Lortab addiction can impact your life:

  • Physically: An addiction to Lortab can harm your body physically by damaging otherwise normal mechanisms. In severe cases or overdose, death can occur.
  • Psychologically: A Lortab addiction can be harmful to your emotional well-being. Altercations include a imbalanced perception, increased mood swings, and escalation in anxiety or depression
  • Social: Addicts who abuse Lortab will cause destruction in their relationships or family units as they become more isolated or refuse to participate in social functions once enjoyed

While there are some effects that are more obvious than others, an addiction to Lortab will affect you as a whole person, including your relationships, finances, mental and physical health and well-being. These consequences can be short or long term, and some of the effects of the Lortab drug abuse cycle may be irreversible, such as ones that can impact health and wellness. For these reasons, it is necessary to obtain professional help and appropriate treatment to effectively deal with the addiction. If you have a loved one who is suffering with an addiction to Lortab, you may find that the impact of the struggle influences you as well. Your continued support and encouragement will help your loved one seek recovery through treatment and avoid continued consequences from a Lortab addiction.

Lortab Withdrawal

Since Lortab is an opiate based drug, it can cause a physical dependency rapidly in both short and long term use. Withdrawal effects from Lortab can occur when there is any abrupt cessation of the drug in an addiction cycle. Depending on how long Lortab has been abused and the dosage usually taken, withdrawal symptoms can range among Lortab addicts. Withdrawal symptoms will usually begin 6-12 hours after the last dosage taken and can include the following:

  • Agitated and aggressive behavior
  • Intense pain throughout the body
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Goose bumps
  • Hyperactivity
  • Anxiety
  • Body Chills
  • Muscle cramps with spasms
  • Tremors
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomitting
  • Dilated pupils
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Depression

Lortab Withdrawal

Withdrawing from Lortab is a complex process that should take place under the supervision and care of trained professionals and medical staff. Having proper care will ensure that the person withdrawing from Lortab will do so with little complications. There are also specific instances in which doctors may prescribe certain drugs to help lessen some of the uncomfortable effects felt from withdrawal, such as muscle cramps and intense pain. Lortab treatment programs often have the necessary resources to safely and efficiently withdraw from the drug and should be considered as part of the process. Several factors will determine the length of the withdrawal period from Lortab, including the duration of time the drug was abused and the severity of the Lortab addiction.

Lortab Treatment and Help

Beginning the journey of recovery for a Lortab addiction can be overwhelming. Take comfort and find hope in knowing that you are not alone on this road. Though you might feel it may be impossible to live life without Lortab, there is hope in the knowledge that recovery is always a possibility, no matter of your past or where you have come from. You are deserving of the freedom that is experienced apart from dependence on a Lortab, and your life is valuable and worthy of recovery. With the right resources, tools, and support, you can be well on your way on the recovery journey towards freedom from a Lortab addiction with the help of a rehab center. By receiving the appropriate and necessary help, you will ultimately have the ability to overcome this addiction.

Other Articles About Lortab

  • The development of Lortab was not intended to be used for long periods of time, but rather is meant to be used only on an as-needed basis. Yet, because of the “high” that its chemical properties can induce, it did not take long for Lortab to start being used as a recreational drug.


[1]. https://nsduhweb.rti.org/ – National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). Accessed 13 February 2013.

[2]: http://www.samhsa.gov/data/DAWN.aspx – Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) Accessed 13 February 2013.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on April 15th, 2013
Published on AddictionHope.com, Substance Abuse Help