Lortab Addiction: Signs, Symptoms, Statistics, and Risks

Lortab is a highly addictive narcotic pain reliever made from a combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. It is commonly prescribed for post-surgical pain or for pain from injuries. The hydrocodone present in Lortab is what makes it addictive and why it is available only with a prescription. While it is a legitimate drug that many people need for short-term purposes, it can be difficult for some people to come off of it once they start taking it. It is possible to develop a  addiction after only about 5 to 7 days of continuous use. That’s why those who are prescribed it typically don’t get refills without calling the doctor first.

Illicit Use  and Its Street Names

Lortab comes as a tablet and that’s how legitimate pain patients take it. People who become addicted to it often start crushing it up to powder and then either snorting or injecting it. Using it this way produces effects very similar to that of heroin. People using it illicitly experience intense highs from it and these can become even more addicting than taking the pill as prescribed.Its high addictive properties have made Lortab quite valuable to drug pushers on the street. Illegal Lortab can be sold for $5 to $10 a pill or more in some areas. Of course, buying it this way is the same as buying any illegal drug and it will bring the addict into contact with some dangerous people. Most people who are addicted to it, doctor shop to continue to get it. However, they may turn to sources on the street if they can’t get it in a legitimate prescription.

Common street names include:

  • Vikes
  • Viko
  • Norco
  • Vic
  • Tabs
  • Hydro
  • Watson-387


The National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimates that 2.2 million people are currently using Lortab illegally. Illegal use of Lortab almost always indicates an addiction to it. Over 60% of people who are or have been addicted to Lortab reported getting their first pill from a family member or friend for free to help with pain. This shows that people are not generally aware of how addicting these pills can be and give them out to friends and family for pain while believing they’re helping them ease the pain and save some money. When a person becomes addicted this way, he or she is more likely to start doctor shopping to get more of the drug once their supply from their friend or family member dries up.In addition to the statistics above, Lortab addiction is most common among people in the 18 to 25 year age range. Further, approximately 1.3 million emergency room visits occur each year due to drug abuse and 33% of these visits are for Lortab abuse in particular.

Common Signs and Symptoms of Lortab Addiction

It is important to know the signs of a possible Lortab addiction because this addiction is so common. If signs of addiction are present and recognized, there is a better chance of the addicted person getting help or of someone they know and love getting help for them.Some common signs of Lortab addiction include:

  • Personal relationships suffering due to time and energy being spent trying to acquire more of the drug.
  • Obtaining Lortab through illegal means such as stealing or falsifying prescriptions.
  • Mood swings that can become violent, especially if the addicted person is having trouble acquiring more Lortab.
  • Paranoia, hallucinations, muscle twitches, stomach pain, bruising, and decreased urination.

Long-Term Effects

Lortab was meant to be used for short-term pain management. It was not meant to be used over the long-term such as occurs in addicts. Using Lortab for months or years on a regular basis can have some serious negative effects on the body. Some of these include:

  • Liver damage from the acetaminophen component of the drug.
  • Increased tolerance so that greater amounts of the drug are needed to get a “high” from it.
  • Chronic nausea, constipation, and dry mouth.
  • Cavities and tooth loss
  • Lung infections
  • Decreased sex drive in men and women.
  • Bone loss
  • Muscle weakness
  • Increased body fat
  • Irregular menstrual cycles in women
  • Depression
  • Lack of energy

Lortab Overdose Symptoms and Treatment

Lortab because they develop a tolerance to the drug that requires them to take larger amounts of it to achieve a high or sometimes even to feel normal. They may overdose without meaning to or realizing they’ve done so. Therefore, those around them must be vigilant about watching for signs of Lortab overdose. The most common signs of this include:
  • Vomiting
  • Jaundice
  • Abnormal drowsiness
  • Slow breathing
  • Liver toxicity
  • Irregular or slow heartbeat
  • Coma
  • Death

Naturally, it is desirable to get a person help before the overdose symptoms devolve into the more catastrophic ones. If the overdose is caught and treated early, doctors are usually able to easily counteract it by administering charcoal, inducing vomiting, or pumping the stomach. There are also some chemical Lortab overdose antidotes doctors can administer in more serious cases. In any case, the sooner a person who has overdosed on Lortab gets help the greater the chances are that they will recover without permanent damage to themselves.

What to Expect from Withdrawal

It is obvious that Lortab addiction is a serious thing that must be dealt with as quickly as possible to ensure the future health and well-being of the addict. However, Lortab can become addictive quickly and withdrawal symptoms can also occur quickly. Withdrawal symptoms can begin as quickly as the first missed dose in some cases. The more abruptly Lortab is stopped, the worse the side effects can be. This is why detoxification from the drug is typically done slowly over a long period of time.Anyone addict who is going off of Lortab will experience some withdrawal symptoms. The kind and severity of these symptoms will vary from person to person based on how long they’ve been on the drug and how quickly they have been entirely removed from it. Some of the most common Lortab withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Tremors
  • Muscle cramps
  • Body chills
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Dilated pupils
  • All-over body pain, sometimes of intense severity
  • Violent behavior
  • Vomiting
  • Goose bumps
  • Diarrhea

A person withdrawing from it must be monitored at all times. This monitoring should ideally be done under the supervision of a doctor as some of the withdrawal symptoms can be serious and need additional medical attention to counteract. Withdrawal is never going to be easy but doing it under medical supervision makes the process a little less painful and much safer. In any case,  addiction is a serious thing that must be treated for the sake of the addict and those who are closest to him or her. A much better life awaits everyone on the other side of addiction.