Lorcet Side Effects

General Information

Lorcet contains acetaminophen and the opioid, hydrocodone. The Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, approved Lorcet for use as a painkiller in 1982.

This drug, like all medicine, has the potential to cause side effects. Many people experience no, or minor, side effects from taking this medication. Most side effects are not serious and disappear after a few days. A few side effects are serious and require the attention of a medical professional.

Abuse, Physical Dependence and Addiction

Some individuals use Lorcet for non-medical reasons, either to get high or to treat a medical problem for which the doctor had not prescribed Lorcet. Misuse of Lorcet may lead to physical dependence or addiction. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, or DEA, classifies substances according to the potential for abuse. The DEA has classified this drug as a Schedule III narcotic, which means it carries a moderate potential for abuse and mental or physical dependence.

To be physically dependent on Lorcet means a person's body depends on a certain level of this drug in order to feel normal; he will feel uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms if the level of Lorcet drops in his system. This drop is caused by a missed dose, insufficient dose or because he has taken a medication to reduce the amount of this drug in his system rapidly.

Withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Abdominal Cramps
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Blurred Vision
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Sweating
  • Tremor
  • Vomiting

The side effects associated with Lorcet usually ease in intensity or stop altogether with continued use at proper doses. Physicians should expect side effects when prescribing Lorcet and treat patients accordingly.

The most serious adverse reaction to Lorcet or other opioids is respiratory problems potentially leading to stopped breathing, circulatory depression, dangerously low blood pressure and shock. Respiratory depression is a condition where the lungs do not adequately exchange oxygen for carbon dioxide and other gases. Symptoms of respiratory depression include slow or shallow breathing, unusual breathing patterns and a bluish tint around the eyes, lips and fingernails.

Non-Serious and Serious Side Effects

The most common side effects associated with this medication are not serious and disappear after taking this drug for a few days. Continue taking this medication but contact the prescribing physician if the following side effects become intolerable or if they do not go away on their own:

  • Anxiety
  • Blurred Vision
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry Mouth
  • Headache
  • Mild Nausea or Vomiting
  • Mood Changes
  • Ringing in the Ears
  • Upset Stomach

Some side effects are serious, requiring urgent medical attention. Contact a doctor immediately if you experience serious side effects including:

  • Clay-Colored Stools
  • Confusion
  • Dark Urine
  • Fear
  • Feeling Light-Headed or Fainting
  • Itching
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Problems with Urination
  • Seizure
  • Severe Nausea
  • Shallow Breathing
  • Slow Heartbeat
  • Unusual Thoughts or Behavior
  • Upper Stomach Pain
  • Yellowing of the Skin or Eyes

By body system


The adverse reactions to Lorcet are similar to the side effects associated with other opioids. Most people tolerate acetaminophen well and do not experience side effects at therapeutic doses.

Nervous system

The hydrocodone component of Lorcet works directly on the area of the brain responsible for breathing and might therefore cause respiratory depression, which is sometimes fatal. Other nervous system side effects associated with Lorcet include mental depression, dizziness, lightheadedness, stupor, delirium, extreme sleepiness, agitation and sadness.


Stopping Lorcet suddenly may cause flu-like withdrawal symptoms, especially after long-term use. Medications such as naloxone reduce the level of Lorcet rapidly. Withdrawal symptoms include agitation, restlessness, anxiety, insomnia, tremor, abdominal cramps, blurred vision, vomiting and sweating.


Alcoholic patients may develop liver damage after consuming even small doses of acetaminophen. Adverse reactions to the hydrocodone component of Lorcet are more likely and more severe in patients with liver disease.

Adverse reactions affecting the liver may include severe and sometimes fatal hepatitis; this risk rises at higher doses of Lorcet. Fasting increases the risk for liver damage. Several Lorcet consumers who did not have other risk factors, such as alcoholism, have experienced liver damage after using acetaminophen at prescribed, therapeutic doses. Liver damage associated with Lorcet overdose rarely occurs at doses less than 10 grams. Overdose fatalities are rare at doses less than 15 grams.


Non-serious gastrointestinal side effects are relatively common and include nausea, vomiting, constipation and dry mouth. Serious adverse reactions affecting the digestive system are rare, except in alcoholics and after overdose. Rarely, Lorcet consumers experience acute pancreatitis.


Lorcet use is associated with certain urinary problems, including spasms and urinary retention.


Lorcet consumers have reported dermatologic side effects including rashes.


Adverse reactions affecting the kidneys are rare, seen most in patients who have taken an overdose, suffer from liver damage caused by acetaminophen, or use acetaminophen chronically in multiple analgesics.

People with kidney problems are at higher risk for suffering side effects after taking Lorcet. These individuals may experience more severe side effects as well.


Lorcet use may cause a decrease in platelet counts, resulting in bleeding problems for some patients.


Hypersensitivity side effects to acetaminophen are rare.


Respiratory depression is a major adverse reaction associated with all opioids, including Lorcet. Naloxone may reverse respiratory depression and coma associated with Lorcet use.


Massive Lorcet overdose may cause serious adverse metabolic reactions including acidosis, a condition where there is too much acid in the blood and body tissues.

Special Senses

Patients who take a chronic overdose of Lorcet may experience temporary hearing impairment or permanent hearing loss.

Labor and Delivery

As with other opioids, babies born to women who took Lorcet late in the pregnancy may experience respiratory depression, especially if the mother took high doses of Lorcet. These newborns may also be physically dependent and suffer withdrawal symptoms shortly after delivery.