Lortab is an opioid medication commonly used to treat pain and severe cough. It contains both acetaminophen and hydrocodone. Lortab is similar to the more familiar-sounding painkiller combination drugs Norco and Vicodin.
Opioid medications like hydrocodone can cause adverse side effects and lead to abuse and addiction. By understanding how Lortab is processed in a person’s system can help patients use it safely, with less risk to their health.
Duration of Effects
Much research has been conducted to determine how long Lortab stays in a person’s system. Lortab starts being processed rapidly, and it can be detected in the person’s saliva and blood within 15–30 minutes of use. Lortab levels are their highest in the blood at around 1.3 hours. If an individual has become dependent on Lortab, they would likely start encountering withdrawal symptoms within 6–12 hours after the last dose.
Half-Life of Lortab
Half-life refers to the amount of time needed for 50% of a substance to be cleared from a person’s system. Lortab’s half-life can be measured by the half-life of hydrocodone, which is, on average, about 3.8 hours. It then takes 5-6 half-lives to expel most of the drug from the system. The half-life of Lortab could also be measured by the half-life of acetaminophen, which is between 1.25–3 hours.
A person’s unique genetic profile and history of Lortab use or misuse may affect Lortab’s concentration in the body at any given time. A drug’s half-life may also be influenced by the method used to measure, such as using urine, blood, or saliva tests.
How Long Can Lortab Be Identified in a Drug Test?
How long Lortab is detectable depends on the bodily fluid (or sometimes hair follicle) used to measure it. Moreover, Lortab is cleared from plasma within just a couple of days. For this reason, drug tests that use bodily fluids are not able to detect Lortab if the person hasn’t recently used it. Lortab use is detectable in the hair follicles for much longer periods, however.
Urine—Research has found that while the majority of hydrocodone has been eliminated from urine was within 24 hours, though it may be detectable in urine for 2–4 days following the last dose.
Blood—As noted, hydrocodone doesn’t remain in the blood for very long, and for this reason, drug screens can only detect it within around 24 hours of using it.
Saliva—Lortab can be detected in a person’s saliva for up to 48 hours. In fact, it may be easier to identify hydrocodone in saliva than in the blood.
Hair—Drugs can remain in hair follicles for a prolonged period. Drug tests can detect many drugs, including hydrocodone, for up to 90 days after a person has discontinued using them.
Factors that Influence How Long Lortab Stays In the System
It is crucial to note individuals process substances at different rates. Factors that may affect Lortab’s half-life include the following:
Frequency and Amount Used—The bodies of persons who have used Lortab for a prolonged period or typically take a high dose will take longer to eliminate the drug from their system.
Age—Older persons are often not able to metabolize opioids as efficiently as younger individuals.
Polysubstance Use or Abuse—Some substances can cause adverse reactions when used in conjunction. A person who has more than one substance in his or her body may not be able to metabolize each drug as fast or effectively. Other substances may include other prescription medication, illegal drugs, alcohol, and even some over-the-counter medications.
Overall Health—A person who suffers from certain co-occurring mental health or physical conditions may have a reduced ability to eliminate Lortab from their system.
How the Body Metabolizes Lortab
Metabolization is a term used to describe the process of substances being broken down in the body. Opioid metabolism begins when liver enzymes start to break it down into simpler components. The drug then is circulated throughout the body, where it reaches a variety of organs and tissues. Over time, it is eventually excreted through urine.
Getting Help for Addiction
If you or someone you love is misusing Lortab, professional help is available. Lortab has a high potential for abuse and addiction, and it’s not difficult to become dependent upon it.
Harmony Treatment and Wellness offers comprehensive programs in both partial hospitalization and outpatient formats. Our programs include evidence-based services proven to be indispensable for recovery, including behavioral therapy. Individuals that choose our center will receive the very best care available and will be supported by our compassionate staff throughout their journey to long-lasting sobriety.
If you are struggling to quit using Lortab, contact us today! Discover more about how we can help you forge your path out of addiction for life!