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Treatment for Lortab Withdrawal

Peter Manza, PhD profile image
Reviewed By Peter Manza, PhD • Updated Aug 14, 2023 • 6 cited sources

Lortab contains hydrocodone, which means that going off it might cause withdrawal symptoms for many people who have regularly used it. Fortunately, there are various ways to manage these uncomfortable symptoms when stopping Lortab use. 

For people who have been taking the drug for medical reasons, gradually tapering off the drug over several weeks or months can aid the withdrawal process. This eases the transition to drug abstinence while minimizing any intense sensations commonly experienced during this time period, such as severe mood swings. 

If Lortab has been misused as part of an opioid use disorder (OUD), Medication for Addiction Treatment (MAT) is the best course of action to deal with opioid withdrawal. Certain medications, such as methadone and buprenorphine, are effective in lessening withdrawal symptoms and persistent cravings. MAT can be a critical piece of maintaining long-term sobriety from Lortab misuse. 

Therapy can be a vital treatment during Lortab withdrawal. Behavioral therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy are scientifically proven to be very effective in managing triggers that lead to addiction relapse while addressing underlying mental health issues. This increases the likelihood of maintaining recovery after acute withdrawal is over.

What Is Lortab?

Lortab is a brand name for a medication that contains hydrocodone and acetaminophen.[1] Most notable of these two drugs is hydrocodone, an opioid pain medication.[2] 

While acetaminophen should also only be taken as needed, it is an over-the-counter medication and not especially potent. Hydrocodone is a powerful painkiller with significant misuse and addiction potential.

Lortab Addiction Treatment

The gold standard treatment for opioid use disorder, involving opioids like Lortab, is MAT.[3] This approach involves the use of medications like methadone, buprenorphine or naltrexone. 

MAT has effective results in managing the challenges associated with opioid use disorder. The treatments help individuals largely avoid withdrawal symptoms and cravings, helping to limit relapse risk.

MAT’s Effect on Withdrawal

Through the use of these medications, patients largely avoid withdrawal from opioids. They don’t experience withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, and more. 

Moreover, these medications also reduce intense cravings for opioids, thus lowering patients’ risk of relapse. Patients dealing with OUD can have debilitating physical and mental health effects, including increased risks of overdose or contracting infectious diseases through drug use. By incorporating medications like Suboxone (buprenorphine/naloxone) into a treatment plan, one can improve overall health outcomes and reduce rates of overdose and other complications while improving mental well-being.

Additional Therapies

Medications like Suboxone are often used alone to manage OUD, but they work best when used in conjunction with therapy. A good treatment plan also includes behavioral therapies alongside additional supportive services. 

Behavioral therapy is widely used in addiction treatment programs because of its success in breaking down errant belief systems and discouraging negative behaviors.[4] This type of therapy takes on many forms, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), contingency management, and more general individual or group counseling.

CBT in particular is incredibly effective because it addresses the intertwined nature between our thoughts, feelings and actions, which all affect our well-being.[5] Thus, educating people on how to change these fundamental underpinnings leads to beneficial results in terms of substance misuse. 

By working alongside therapists trained in CBT techniques like cognitive restructuring or exposure therapy, individuals can identify negative thinking habits and learn how to replace them with healthier patterns of thought. They also learn healthy coping mechanisms along the way.

How Long Does Lortab Withdrawal Last?

Hydrocodone, the opioid in Lortab, comes in a short-acting and long-acting form. Lortab specifically contains short-acting hydrocodone. 

Withdrawal from short-acting opioids can be uncomfortable and cause a range of physical and psychological symptoms.[6] The severity and duration of withdrawal symptoms can vary depending on several factors, including the length and amount of use, overall health and physiological makeup.

Common physical symptoms of opioid withdrawal include the following:

  • Agitation and restlessness
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Insomnia or other sleep disturbances
  • Sweating and chills
  • Runny nose and teary eyes
  • Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure

Psychological symptoms may include the following:

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Difficulty concentrating or focusing
  • Intense cravings for the drug

Withdrawal from opioid dependence brings on unpleasant side effects that often appear shortly after discontinuing use. Symptoms tend to peak by the third day after last use. Although individuals may experience gradually reduced symptom intensity over the course of one or two weeks following cessation, others might have lingering discomfort that lasts many months despite completely stopping their drug use. 

The Importance of MAT

To manage potential discomfort during this period effectively while mitigating the risk of relapse, it’s essential to seek professional medical guidance. It’s also crucial to understand that withdrawing from opioids is only the beginning of the journey toward managing OUD.

Since the potential for relapse is so high during Lortab withdrawal, MAT is almost always recommended. Thanks to telehealth services, like those offered here at Bicycle Health, it’s easier than ever before to access MAT like Suboxone. Contact us today to see if our services are right for you.

Reviewed By Peter Manza, PhD

Peter Manza, PhD received his BA in Psychology and Biology from the University of Rochester and his PhD in Integrative Neuroscience at Stony Brook University. He is currently working as a research scientist in Washington, DC. His research focuses on the role ... Read More

  1. Hydrocodone Bitartrate and Acetaminophen tablet. DailyMed. October 2006. Accessed April 2023.
  2. Hydrocodone. U.S. National Library of Medicine. January 2021. Accessed April 2023.
  3. Effective Treatments for Opioid Addiction. National Institute on Drug Abuse. November 2016. Accessed April 2023.
  4. Opioid Misuse and Addiction Treatment. U.S. National Library of Medicine. October 2019. Accessed April 2023.
  5. Cognitive Behavioral Interventions for Alcohol and Drug Use Disorders: Through the Stage Model and Back Again. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors. August 2017. Accessed April 2023.
  6. Clinical Guidelines for Withdrawal Management and Treatment of Drug Dependence in Closed Settings. World Health Organization. 2009. Accessed April 2023.

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