Lortab Addiction: Symptoms, Signs and Side Effects

Last Updated: May 26, 2023

Editorial Policy | Research Policy

As an opioid-based pain reliever, Lortab is prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain. The drug is a mix of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. The hydrocodone component makes Lortab a contributor to the opioid epidemic. When people are concerned that a friend or loved one is addicted to Lortab, they can look for specific signs, symptoms and side effects of the drug to help identify the presence of a substance use disorder.

Symptoms of Lortab Abuse

Lortab abuse occurs when a person uses the medication more frequently than prescribed or takes higher doses. Another sign of misuse is when someone uses the drug without a prescription at all.

Lortab has effects on the reward centers in the brain, which generally cause a person to experience a rush of euphoria. People who begin misusing Lortab are often chasing this pleasurable feeling. By misusing the drug, people may begin showing Lortab addiction symptoms or, worse, Lortab overdose symptoms.

To acquire more Lortab, people may attempt to do the following:

  • Fake injuries to obtain prescriptions from physicians
  • Create forged prescriptions
  • Obtain tablets from people who have a prescription
  • Purchase tablets from someone selling them illegally

Side Effects of Lortab

After consuming Lortab, side effects will occur regardless of whether someone is misusing the drug or taking it as prescribed. However, when Lortab is taken without a prescription and directions from a physician, the side effects can be much worse. This danger is especially true when Lortab is taken in high doses or by snorting, injecting or smoking the drug.

Lortab side effects include:

  • Confusion
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Dry Mouth
  • Increased sensitivity to pain
  • Increased sleepiness
  • Low levels of testosterone (resulting in low sex drive, energy and strength)
  • Rashes, itching or sweating
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Liver failure
  • Respiratory depression (i.e., significantly slowed breathing)

Signs of Lortab Addiction

While addiction to Lortab and other opioids can occur when someone is misusing the drug, it can also occur when it is taken as prescribed. This characteristic makes Lortab a high-risk drug. Lortab and other hydrocodone-based medications are classified as Schedule II controlled substances. This classification is designated for prescription medications that carry the highest potential for misuse and addiction.

Some common signs of Lortab addiction include:

  • Being unable to take less Lortab or stop usage altogether
  • Continuing to use Lortab long after a short-term prescription
  • Experiencing strong cravings to use Lortab
  • Having Lortab prescriptions from multiple doctors and multiple pharmacies
  • Having hidden supplies of Lortab
  • Needing to take increasing amounts of Lortab to get the same euphoric effect

These signs may not be obvious. People struggling with addiction may have feelings of shame and embarrassment, causing them to hide signs of misuse. The signs may not all be present at the same time, but noticing even one of them is a cause for concern. Additionally, a person may still be addicted even if they do not show any of these common signs.

Signs of Lortab Overdose

When someone is experiencing a Lortab overdose, they may show the previously mentioned side effects in addition to the following:

  • Blue color in lips, skin or extremities
  • Labored or shallow breathing
  • Low blood pressure
  • Seizures
  • Skin that is cool or cold to the touch
  • Unconsciousness

When an overdose is suspected, a person’s breathing is important to monitor. Respiratory depression is one of the main causes of death in overdoses involving opioid medications like Lortab. Keep in mind that people often combine Lortab with other drugs or alcohol, and they may exhibit different symptoms. If you suspect an overdose contact emergency medical personnel as soon as possible.

If you believe that you or someone you know developed an addiction to Lortab, contact The Recovery Village Ridgefield to speak with a representative about how individualized treatment programs can help address addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. You deserve a healthier future, call today.


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    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Prescription Opioids.” August 29, 2017. Accessed May 9, 2019.

    Kosten TR, Baxter BE. “Effective Management of Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms: A Gateway to Opioid Dependence Treatment.” American Journal on Addictions, January 31, 2019. Accessed May 9, 2019.

    MedlinePlus. “Hydrocodone and Acetaminophen Overdose.” January 17, 2018. Accessed May 9, 2019.

    National Institute on Drug Abuse. “The Science of Drug Use and Addiction: The Basics.” July 2018. Accessed May 9, 2019.