How Long Does Lortab Stay In System And How To Flush It Out Faster?

Medical student is learning about Lortab Half-Life

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Lortab is routinely prescribed for easing moderate to severe pain. It combines two different components, which counter pain using different mechanisms. Although strict guidelines are in place, addiction to Lortab is quite common due to its opioid component. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention names hydrocodone as one of the top three causes of deaths due to prescription opioid overdose. How long does Lortab stay in the system? Knowing this important information can help prevent accidentally overdosing and avoid dangerous interactions. It also helps to know how long does Lortab stay in the urine and other drug tests.

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Table of Contents

Lortab Half-Life

To understand how long Lortab stays in the system, knowledge of Lortab half-life is required. That requires knowing the half-life of its two components: acetaminophen and hydrocodone.
Acetaminophen half-life can vary between one and three hours. Hydrocodone half-life has been documented to last for 3.5 hours although anecdotal reports indicate that it can take up to 9 hours before the medication disintegrates and start to become eliminated from the body.

Woman checks the time on her watch

How Long Does Lortab Last In The Body?

With reference to the half-life period, it may take this drug up to three days before it is excreted from the body. Lortab strength is one of the factors that may cause this variation.

Withdrawal effects may appear after about 6 up to 12 hours from the last intake.


Factors that may affect how long Lortab stays in the system and how long it can be detected include the following:

  • Frequency of use and dosage. These factors determine the level of toxicity. If a person has taken the medication or abused it for a long time, it will generally take longer for the body to become cleared of the drug. Higher dosages are also known for greater chances for Lortab adverse effects to appear.
  • Method of administration. Shooting opioid drugs generally make them last in the system longer than when it is taken orally.
  • General health. A person with optimally functioning liver and kidneys will typically be capable of more effectively eliminating the medication faster compared to a person who is unhealthy, particularly when excretory organs are not working correctly. A person who took Lortab overdose amount will also have the medication in their system longer than usual.

Alternatives in the same class won’t eliminate faster. Comparing Lortab vs. Vicodin, both brands utilize the same mechanism of action to reduce sensations of pain. Given similarities in chemical structure, both can be expected to remain in the system and exit the system in the same way.

Lortab On Drug Tests

Knowing how long Lortab stays in the system may help in early detection of drug abuse or misuse, as well as in the prevention of drug interactions, such as between Lortab and Xanax. It may also help in evading positive detection in drug tests.

A drug test is typically conducted to detect the presence of illegal drugs or prescription medications in the system, which may signify abuse or addiction. This means that a drug test will be specifically sensitive to the hydrocodone component, but not acetaminophen.


A variety of drug tests are available nowadays. They are: urine, blood, hair or saliva. Each one is having a unique level of sensitivity to the specimens being tested and the length of time since the last dose was taken.

Scientist holds a sample bottle for Lortab blood test

How long does Lortab stay in the urine?

Urine tests can show the presence of opioids when conducted two to four days following the last dosage, but it generally depends on how long it takes for the body to excrete the active components of the medication.

How Long Does Lortab Stay In Blood?

A drug test using blood as a specimen is capable of detecting opioid component up to 24 hours only.

How Long Does Lortab Stay In Hair?

A hair follicle test will be able to show the use of opioid components for up to 90 days since the last dose was taken.

How Long Does Lortab Stay Saliva?

Opioids are known to be detected in the saliva if the test is done between 12 up to 36 hours from the last intake.

Can Lortab Show False-Positive For Illicit Substances?

Most drug screening tests will involve a urine test since it can produce more reliable results, include non-invasive testing, and, therefore, provides the most cost-effective means of getting a person tested for hydrocodone. Similar to false-positive results experienced in testing for other medications, drug testing for this opioid may be affected by the intake of other medications.

In some cases, the false-positive results from the misdiagnosis of the presence of hydromorphone, a metabolite of both hydrocodone and morphine. False-positives are often detected among patients who are prescribed with morphine for managing severe pain.

How To Eliminate Lortab From System And Treat The Addiction?

asian woman taking detox drink

The fastest way to flush Lortab from the body and break free from addiction is to seek medical treatment. Early detection of possible addiction and abuse of Lortab will help to drive a patient trough detoxification and treatment successfully. Medical detox professional will be able to provide the patient with sound advice on how to flush this medication out from the system safely.
Following the recommended treatment for addiction to opioids, signing up for a rehabilitation program will typically include a holistic treatment that will also help address underlying causes of misuse or dependence.
Treatments centers support their clients with medications to alleviate withdrawal symptoms and cravings, as well as counseling support for a successful recovery.

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View Sources
  1. U.S. National Library of Medicine, Opioid Abuse and Addiction Treatment, https://medlineplus.gov/opioidabuseandaddictiontreatment.html
  2. DailyMed, LORTAB- hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen tablet, https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=1fb18a80-8ef0-4bce-bb0d-9a86851c5206
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Prescription Opioid Data, https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/data/prescribing.html
Olivier George

About Author

Olivier George, Ph.D.

Olivier George is a medical writer and head manager of the rehab center in California. He spends a lot of time in collecting and analyzing the traditional approaches for substance abuse treatment and assessing their efficiency.

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