Lortab Withdrawal: Symptoms, Timeline And Treatment Options

Last Updated: June 3, 2020

Authored by Olivier George, Ph.D.

Dependency on a highly potent medication such as Lortab can be challenging to break and successfully withdraw from it, especially without the aid of a medical professional. Lortab or Norco, are brand names for an extremely effective painkiller and cough relief drug which can cause levels of dependencies when abused. Lortab withdrawal can occur when the medication is suddenly discontinued. Lortab withdrawal symptoms, mechanisms, detox, and treatment methods are discussed below.

Lortab Withdrawal Symptoms

There is usually a Lortab vs. Tramadol comparison based their efficacy as painkillers and dependency ratio. It is likely that one would experience an opiate level discontinuation effect if narcotics such as Tramadol, Percocet and Lortab were abused. Some symptoms help to determine if one needs Lortab withdrawal help.  These symptoms are:


Many individuals report extended periods of depression linked to Lortab withdrawal. This is caused by depletion of endorphins and a characteristic deficiency of mu receptor stimulation as well as sporadic changes in levels of neurotransmitters.


Opioids are natural depressants and are often recommended to help insomniacs to fall asleep. A shortage or absence of the drug in the system may lead to difficulty in sleeping at night.

Depressed man suffering from insomnia from Lortab

Muscle And Joint Pain

The abrupt drop in levels of endorphins in the system due to Lortab withdrawal can lead to varying levels of muscle and joint pains. In some cases, the pain can be extreme and requires the urgent attention of a medical specialist.

Palpitations And Panic Attacks

Abdominal Cramps

The discontinuation of an opioid, which is the main Lortab ingredient, can lead to severe cramps in the abdomen as well as in the other areas of the body, which can be extremely discomforting.


Overwhelmingly constant fatigue is experienced, especially in the initial weeks of cold turkey. This is due to an upsurge in the activity of the nervous system while trying to maintain a fairly constant internal routine. The change in endorphin levels and neurotransmitter activities is also a factor.

Tiredness from Lortab withdrawal

Loss Of Appetite

One is likely to experience a significant reduction in appetite, especially in the first few days of Lortab withdrawal.

Drug Craving

It is typical to experience a high craving for the drug, which will cause severe discomfort and psychological trauma. This stage can be a bit extreme; however, with the correct addiction treatment, these cravings will subside.


One of the side effects of taking Lortab is constipation, and in reverse, diarrhea is a symptom of complete withdrawal from the drug.

Headaches, Dizziness, And Vomiting

These combined flu symptoms are typical of withdrawal from Lortab medication. These symptoms are usually experienced quite early in the withdrawal stages.

Severe Itching

Lortab itching side effects are caused by the activation of nerve endings under the skin due to withdrawal. The nerve endings become extremely sensitive, causing serious itching.

woman feeling severe itching during Lortab withdrawal

Mood Swings

During Lortab withdrawal phase, an individual may experience high irritability due to the adjustment and transitioning of the nervous system. The mood swings may continue for days depending on the levels of dependency.

Suicidal Thoughts And Behavior

Profuse Sweating

The skin may sweat many times during the day. This is a triggered self-detoxification mechanism and in quite common during Lortab withdrawal phase.

Lortab Withdrawal Timeline

Lortab withdrawal timeline may vary from one individual to the other.  The complete detoxification of the drug from the system hinges on the severity of the dependency.
How long does Lortab stay in the blood? Hydrocodone, the main Lortab ingredient, has a half-life of 4 hours. This means that Lortab can linger for up to 24 hours after the last dose. Even though the drug can be eliminated from one’s system in less than a day, but the withdrawal symptoms in dependent individuals may begin once the nervous system starts to react to the absence of the drug.
How long does Lortab withdrawal last?  The duration may vary from one individual to the other due to the difference in weight, age, and so on, but withdrawal symptoms of Lortab addiction start from the first four hours to 3 weeks.

Female doctor showing Lortab withdrawal timeline

Stage 1: First 24 Hours

At the initial stage, the average Lortab 7.5 withdrawal symptoms may appear in 4 hours or less. The symptoms at the first stage are usually mild to moderate and may present with symptoms like anxiety, headaches, sweating, loss of appetite, and others.

Stage 2: 3-5 Days

At this point, the most distressing symptoms are experienced. These symptoms may include nausea, abdominal cramps, mood swings, dilated pupils, insomnia, severe anxiety, vomiting, muscular and joint pains. They may be worsen if a combination of opioids like Perocet and Lortab were used together.

Stage 3: 1-2 Weeks

This is the diminishing stage where the body system begins to regain its functions slowly, and to regularize. This final stage of Lortab withdrawal. It takes about 1-2 weeks to complete its cycle.

Lortab Detox Medication

In the case of dependency, there are options for medication-assisted treatment (MAT), which basically involves the treatment of Lortab withdrawal symptoms using a protocol medication. This can be combined with various other therapy techniques and counseling for maximum results. The following MAT drugs are FDA approved and are safe in recommended doses.

Doctor giving Lortab detox pills to a patient


Essentially, the medication targets specific brain receptors that are usually affected by opioids while blocking the pleasurable effects acquired from the medication.


The idea behind this medication is to slowly ease the addictive effect of the hydrocodone by providing a controlled dose of opioid without the intoxicating effects of the drug.


It causes a similar opioid effect without the euphoria and helps to ease off the severe cravings that come with Lortab withdrawals.

Seek Help With Lortab Withdrawal From A Medical Professional

Due to the complicated nature of withdrawal symptoms and the potential severity, it is best for these conditions to be handled by a medical professional. Some individuals may decide to manage their addictions using various techniques such as cold turkey but this method subjects the system to a lot of pressure with the possibility of relapse at any point.

Page Sources

  1. U.S. National Library of Medicine, Opiate and opioid withdrawal, https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000949.htm
  2. Mansi Shah; Martin R. Huecker, Opioid Withdrawal, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK526012/
  3. SA Health, Opioid withdrawal management, https://www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/public+content/sa+health+internet/clinical+resources/clinical+topics/substance+misuse+and+dependence/substance+withdrawal+management/opioid+withdrawal+management

Published on: July 30th, 2019

Updated on: June 3rd, 2020

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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