Lortab products (as well as other hydrocodone/APAP products) are commonly abused drugs. They are readily available and inexpensive, especially in generic form. However, it is important to distinguish between true abuse of the drug and a normal, predictable physical dependence on the drug. Healthcare providers can have difficulty distinguishing behaviors associated with inadequate pain control from drug-seeking behaviors associated with abuse. Because Lortab is a highly desired drug of abuse, people often obtain it through illegal means, such as from foreign countries or online sources that do not require a prescription. People who abuse this medication and suddenly stop using it are likely to experience withdrawal symptoms.
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General considerations for when and how to take Lortab include the following:
- The medication comes in tablet and elixir form. It is taken by mouth, typically every four to six hours as needed for pain.
- It is best to take your dosage with food, as this may help reduce stomach upset. Most opioids, including the one in Lortab, cause stomach upset.
- Be careful not to exceed the maximum recommended daily dose, as this could lead to overdose symptoms or poisoning from the acetaminophen component, which can cause liver failure.
- Lortab is either taken "as needed" or on a scheduled basis. "As needed" means you will only take a dose if you are experiencing pain (if you are not in pain, you will skip the dose), while "scheduled use" means you should take it on schedule, even if you are not in pain. Most healthcare providers prescribe this drug on an "as needed" basis, rather than a scheduled basis.
- For the medication to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed. Do not increase your dose without your healthcare provider's approval. Do not suddenly stop taking Lortab, especially if you have taken it regularly for more than several weeks (see Lortab Withdrawal).