Lortab (hydrocodone/APAP) is a narcotic that is a highly desired drug of abuse. It is difficult to predict who will have a problem, but people with mental illness or who have a prior history of drug or alcohol abuse may be at a higher risk for Lortab abuse. The physical, emotional, and social consequences abusing this drug can be quite dangerous.
Abusing Lortab: An Overview
Lortab® (hydrocodone/APAP) is a prescription pain medication. It is a narcotic and a highly desired drug of abuse. However, it is important to distinguish between true Lortab abuse and simple physical dependence on the drug, which will occur with any long-term use of Lortab, legitimate or not.
Lortab Abuse Versus Dependence
As a narcotic, Lortab leads to physical dependence. However, physical dependence is not a sign of abuse; it is a predictable, physical response to chronic use of the narcotic. The body becomes accustomed to physical changes that Lortab causes, and stopping the drug will lead to withdrawal symptoms. This is not necessarily a sign of abuse. People can be physically dependent on Lortab without abusing the drug.
In addition, the body becomes "tolerant" to the effects of Lortab, and higher dosages are necessary to produce the same pain-relieving effects. Again, this is not a sign of abuse; it is a predictable, physical response.
People who have been on narcotics for a long time can take enormous doses that would lead to death in a first-time user. However, there is a limitation to how much Lortab any person can safely take, even if he or she is tolerant to the narcotic's effects, because the acetaminophen (Tylenol®) component of Lortab can cause liver failure and even death when taken in high doses.
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