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Lortab Abuse and Addiction

Lortab Abuse and Addiction

Lortab is a brand name for ‘Hydrocodone’, a semi-synthetic opiate that can produce similar effects to OxyContin by acting on the opioid receptors in the brain. If the drug is taken repeatedly, a person becomes liable to develop dependence and addiction. The drug in higher doses produces the pleasant and euphoric effects that have led to its massive recreational use among the people. The body soon develops a tolerance and same doses fail to deliver the required effect. The doses have to be increased in order to achieve a similar High. Lortab has many adverse effects on the body and mind. Even the medical prescriptions are restricted for long-term use. Many deaths have also been reported as a result of Lortab abuse and overdose.

What is Lortab?

It is an analgesic made up of two basic ingredients, Hydrocodone plus acetaminophen. Hydrocodone is an opioid and acetaminophen is a non-salicylate painkiller. The combination increases the efficiency of the drug. Therefore, it is used frequently to relieve the moderate and severe pain of the patient. Acetaminophen is also available separately as OTC drugs. It is used for relieving the pain of mild intensity. In combination with Hydrocodone, the effect gets augmented. The drug comes in many brand names. It is available in the tablets and syrup form. In the tablet form, it is mostly prescribed in the doses of 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 7.5 mg, and 10 mg. Some of the alternate names include Vicodin and Lorcet. The street names of Lortab are:

  • Hydro
  • Vikes
  • Norco

How does Lortab work?

Lortab consists of Hydrocodone, which is a synthetic substance obtained from opium, and a non-narcotic substance ‘acetaminophen’. Hydrocodone binds to the opioid receptors in the central nervous system. This prevents the transmittance of pain signals to the brain. The same region of the brain where the physical pain receptors are located also control the emotional and psychological pain. When the drug acts on the receptors, it not only reduces the physical pain but psychological and emotional pain as well. All the distress seems to fade away and a temporary state of euphoria sets in as long the drug stays in the body. Moreover, it also decreases cough by diminishing the activity of brain responsible for a cough producing mechanisms. The exact mechanism of action of acetaminophen is still not known. They block the cyclooxygenase enzymes which form the pain signaling chemicals, the prostaglandins.

What are the uses of Lortab?

Lortab is approved for the following uses:

  • As cough suppressant.
  • For relieving the pain of moderate and severe intensity.

Besides the medical uses, it is increasingly taken along with the psychoactive drugs for the euphoric and pleasant effects.

What are the dosage amounts for Lortab?

Adult doses of Lortab for pain are given below.

In tablet form:

  • 5mg/325mg = 1 or 2 tablets every 4 to 6 hours. The daily limit of dose is 12 tablets.
  • 5mg/325mg = 1 tablets every 4 to 6 hours. Maximum number of tablets is 6/day.
  • 10mg/325mg = 1 tablet every 4 to 6 hours. Maximum limit is 6 tablets per day.

In syrup form:

10/325 mg per 15mL solution: 1 tablespoon or 15 ml every four to six hours. The total dose should not exceed 6 tablespoons or 90 ml.

Adult doses for a cough are as follows.

  • Tablets = 1 tablet every four to six hours. The maximum limit is 6 tablets per day.
  • Syrup = 5-5mg/5mL every four to six hours. Don’t exceed more than 30 ml per day.

Is Lortab addictive?

Lortab is a very addictive drug. Chemically, the drug is similar to opiate medications like morphine. The Hydrocodone is classified as the schedule 2 drug. The strong euphoric effects caused by the drug make the person keep abusing the drug. The prescription doses do not lead towards addiction. However, the misuse of the drug by taking the higher doses or taking the frequent doses increases the risk of addiction.  Due to its strong addictive potential, it is illegal to use Lortab without having a prescription from the doctor. The United States Drug Enforcement Agency has stated that Lortab is the most abused drug in comparison to any other opioid. The addiction is characterized by strong cravings and a compulsive use, despite the negative consequences. If a person makes conscious decisions to abuse Lortab, it’s a sign that he has become addicted. The addiction potential increases in the following conditions.

  • Chewing the tablets.
  • Crushing into a powder form and then snorting.
  • Injecting the drug.

Common Lortab drug combinations:

Combining Lortab with other drugs is a common practice noticed among the people who use it for recreational purposes. It is mostly combined with Alcohol, Marijuana, and Benzodiazepines. Mixing Lortab and Alcohol carries the highest risk as both the drugs cause damage to the liver. Moreover, both the drugs can cause CNS depression to an extent of coma and death. Using Lortab in combination with Marijuana causes drowsiness, difficulty concentrating, confusion, and incoordination. The combination with benzodiazepines is also very harmful. Benzodiazepine is also a CNS depressant and the concomitant use of drugs containing opiates can amplify the effects. It increases the chances of fatal toxicity and overdose.

American statistics on Lortab abuse

According to the reports of Drug Enforcement Administration, Lortab is one of the most abused opioid drugs. The abuse usually starts as a prescription for a legitimate reason. The user then starts misusing the drug by continuing the drug for longer durations. The United States statistics for Lortab abuse are as follow.

  • In 2011, more than 82,500 emergency visits were due to non-medical use of the drug.
  • During 2013 in Florida, Hydrocodone-related deaths were reported to be 431.
  • Over 23 million people have abused Hydrocodone-related narcotics.