Lortab Side Effects & Warnings

Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS

on January 25, 2023

Lortab has some potential for abuse and can lead to serious side effects. Common side effects, such as sedation or relaxation, may occur with prescribed use while those who abuse the drug may experience difficulty breathing or seizures.

Lortab, sometimes referred to as Norco, is a brand name for the combination of hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen. 

This prescription drug is a Schedule II controlled substance by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), meaning it has a high potential for abuse and can become habit-forming.

As an opiate analgesic prescription medication, Lortab provides pain relief by attaching to opioid receptors in the brain and acting as a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. When the CNS is depressed, sedation and feelings of euphoria can occur, leading some to abuse Lortab.

Whether you take Lortab as prescribed by a healthcare provider or abuse this pain reliever, a number of side effects may take place. In addition to this, there are a number of warnings you should know before taking this prescription medication.

Side Effects Of Lortab

Depending on the severity of drug abuse, Lortab may create a number of side effects which can range from common to severe.

Common Side Effects

Some of the more common side effects of hydrocodone and acetaminophen, according to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), may consist of:

  • nausea
  • sedation
  • constipation
  • loss of appetite
  • dizziness
  • lightheadedness
  • dry mouth
  • headache
  • vomiting
  • drowsiness

Serious Side Effects

When Lortab is abused, any of the common side effects may be heightened, leading to severe health issues. Some of these include shallow breathing or other breathing problems or severe stomach pain.

In addition, severe sleepiness and tiredness can occur, resulting in accidental falls, drownings, or motor vehicle crashes. When taken in high doses, any potential side effects can be increased.

Lortab Warnings

Those who are prescribed Lortab by their healthcare provider should consult the medication guide and understand the warnings and risks before taking the medication. 

Drug Interactions

Combining medications may create adverse effects and potential allergic reactions such as hives or other health issues. Some of the substances to avoid while taking Lortab may include:

  • benzodiazepines
  • supplements
  • oxycodone
  • codeine
  • antihistamines
  • alcohol
  • certain antidepressants such as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) or selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • muscle relaxants
  • opioid pain relief medications such as Vicodin

Medical Conditions

Those with certain medical conditions should avoid taking Lortab until speaking with their primary care doctor. Once you’ve received the medical advice of a healthcare professional, it’s important to inform them of your own medical and family history.

For instance, those with certain health issues such as liver disease or kidney disease should avoid Lortab as it can affect these organs over long periods of time. Those who have had a head injury in the past should also avoid Lortab.

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should consult their doctor before taking Lortab as this strong opioid may pass from the mother’s breast milk to the baby, leading to health problems such as withdrawal symptoms or overdose for the child.

If a person has conditions which create trouble breathing, such as sleep apnea or chronic obstruct pulmonary disease (COPD), Lortab should be avoided due to the sedation and respiratory depression that can take place.

Lortab Dependence & Withdrawal

Those who abruptly stop this medication may experience withdrawal symptoms. The FDA states that Lortab withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • diarrhea
  • insomnia
  • weakness
  • fluctuations in heart rate
  • irritability
  • fluctuations in blood pressure

Lortab Overdose

Abusing Lortab in any manner can lead to an increased risk of opioid overdose. A Lortab overdose can be life-threatening and medical help should be sought immediately if an overdose occurs.

Some of the symptoms of a Lortab overdose may include:

  • low blood pressure
  • seizures
  • cold or clammy skin
  • muscle spasms or tremors
  • respiratory depression or trouble breathing
  • yellowing of the skin caused by liver damage or liver failure
  • extreme sleepiness
  • coma

To reverse the effects of opioid overdose, you can administer the drug naloxone before emergency personnel arrive.

If you or a loved one live with prescription opioid addiction and need help, please contact Ohio Recovery Center today for information on our inpatient treatment options.

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — Talk To Your Doctor About Managing Your Pain https://www.cdc.gov/injury/features/manage-your-pain/index.html
  2. Drug Enforcement Administration — Hydrocodone https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_chem_info/hydrocodone.pdf
  3. Food and Drug Administration — Norco https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2019/040099s023lbl.pdf
  4. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Hydrocodone and Acetaminophen Overdose https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002670.htm
  5. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Hydrocodone Combination Products https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a601006.html

Written by Ohio Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Ohio Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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