What Is Lortab?
Lortab is a brand name for the drug hydrocodone. Lortab is a semi-synthetic opiate that, in large does, produces similar effects to that of OxyContin. Taken repeatedly, it can result in dependence and addiction. Initially, recreational use of Lortab produces a feeling of euphoria. However, like with any other narcotic, the human body builds a tolerance to Lortab, meaning more of the drug must be taken to produce the same effect as use continues.
Some important facts to consider about Lortab abuse include the following:
- Abusing Lortab can lead to physical and psychological addiction/dependence.
- It is NOT intended for long-term use.
Hydrocodone side effects can be severe when the drug is misused.
Prolonged use of Lortab can lead to a number of health problems, such as:
- Dangerously decreased breathing rate.
- Liver problems.
Similar hydrocodone medications are marketed as Norco and Zohydro.
From Prescription Opiates to Heroin
Addiction to opiates like Lortab is especially troubling because it is a risk factor for future heroin abuse.
There is an alarming number of opiate-dependent people who eventually switch to heroin in order to experience the same high at a cheaper cost. Prescription opiates like OxyContin can come at a price of up to $100 per pill, while a heroin fix can come as cheap as $5-10.
The CDC reports that those dependent on opiates are 40 times more likely to develop a problem with heroin.
Signs and Symptoms
It’s important to know what to look for when you suspect you or someone you care about may be addicted to Lortab. Hydrocodone abuse can cause a variety of side effects and symptoms, which may include:
- Dry mouth.
- Hearing loss.
- Small, constricted pupils.
- Slowed heart rate.
- Stomach pain.
- Twitching of the muscles.
- Weight loss.
Another clear sign of abuse you may notice is the user having multiple prescriptions from different doctors, as well as an abnormal number of medical appointments.
Effects of Lortab Abuse
Abuse of Lortab can wreak havoc on someone both physically and mentally and cause severe withdrawal symptoms when use is interrupted or stopped abruptly.
Lortab can cause several harmful effects in addition to those listed above in “Signs and Symptoms”. If used with alcohol, Lortab can cause depressed breathing/respiration, which can be fatal.
Because of its acetaminophen component, Lortab can lead to a syndrome known as fulminant hepatic necrosis, a type of liver failure. Consumption with alcohol increases the risk of developing this type of disease.
Heart failure and respiratory failure are other grave complications in persons with a Lortab problem or addiction.
In addition, Lortab can cause:
- Hot and cold sweats.
- General soreness throughout the body.
Mental and Social Effects
Lortab abuse can wreak havoc on the life of a user. Someone suffering from a Lortab addiction may exhibit:
- Mood changes/volatility.
- Financial problems.
- Withdrawal from social activities.
When someone with a Lortab addiction stops taking the drug, that person may experience several withdrawal symptoms, which can include:
- Panic attacks.
- Muscle pain.
- Runny nose.
- Increased tearing.
- Goose bumps.
Lortab Abuse Treatment
There are several treatment options for someone who wants to recovery from Lortab addiction.
- 12 Step Programs – Narcotics Anonymous (NA) caters to people who are recovering from addiction to Lortab (and other narcotics) addiction. Depending on where you live, NA may have an open meeting, or several meetings you can attend. There is no cost to participate in NA.
- Inpatient (Residential) Treatment Centers – Inpatient treatment centers usually last 30, 60 or 90 days – some even longer, when indicated for severe addictions. The recovering addict lives at the facility in a controlled environment while they focus on battling their addiction. Inpatient treatment offers immersive care environmentsthat take the user away from everyday triggers and cues to use.
- Outpatient Treatment Centers – Outpatient treatment centers allow a recovering addict to sleep at home and visit the treatment center during specific hours of the day. This gives the addict a chance to recover in own social, family, and work environment. This can be an advantage since this is the environment they’ll be in when they graduate treatment.
Statistics on Lortab Use
Illicit usage of these prescription medications has reached alarming rates. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that more than 23 million people over the age of 12 have abused or misused Lortab. Consider these other alarming statistics:
- Lortab and drugs in the same category (opiates) are some of the most prescribed and abused drugs in the U.S.
- More than 200 prescription medications contain hydrocodone (Lortab).
Teen Lortab Abuse
According to a University of Michigan study, 1 in 8 high school seniors reported non-medical use of prescription opiates, such as Lortab.
You can prevent non-medical use of Lortab and other opiates by communicating with your teen about the risks associated with recreational use of prescription drugs. Here are some other things you can do to help prevent teen use:
- Keep any Lortab in your house securely locked and out of reach.
- Pay attention to the friends with whom your teen spends his or her time.
- Monitor your teen’s Internet activity.
- Explain to your teen that prescription drugs can be just as dangerous and addictive as illegal drugs.
If you suspect that your teen is using Lortab, or other drugs, keep your eye out for changes in friends, behaviors, and routines.
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