Lortab Detox

Lortab detoxification is an important step in recovering from dependence on this powerful drug. Lortab contains hydrocodone, an opioid analgesic made from derivatives of the opium poppy plant. Doctors prescribe hydrocodone to treat moderate to severe pain.

Hydromorphone is the most widely prescribed drug in the United States, with pharmacists filling more than 139 million prescriptions for products containing hydrocodone in 2010. Most people use hydrocodone as directed but it for non-medical reasons, either to get high or to treat a different condition than the one the doctor had intended when she wrote the prescription.

Anyone can become dependent on opioids, whether he uses the drug as prescribed to treat a chronic condition or for non-medical reasons. Approximately 2 million Americans are dependent on opioids like Lortab.

The body adapts to the long-term presence of some substances, like hydrocodone. With long-term use, the human body begins to depend on a certain level of the opioid to feel normal. When opioid levels fall drastically, the body struggles to maintain chemical stability. Physicians refer to this as detoxification.

Lortab detoxification causes withdrawal symptoms in an opioid-dependent person. These withdrawal symptoms begin a few hours after the last dose of Lortab and continue for several days before disappearing as the body completes the detoxification process. Withdrawal symptoms do not return unless the individual becomes opioid-dependent once again.

Lortab detoxification also refers to a medical approach to managing withdrawal symptoms, using drugs to reduce or stop the discomfort associated with the detoxification process. Once the patient achieves a drug-free state, he can participate in rehabilitation to learn how to live without drugs. Together, detoxification and rehabilitation reduce relapse rates and improve the patient’s chances of recovery.

Types of Detox

Of the people who needed treatment for opioid-dependence, only about 11 percent got it at a facility staffed with workers who received special training in detoxification or rehabilitation procedures. Everyone else sought help from local hospitals or mental health facilities without trained workers, or tried Lortab detoxification without professional help.

Some even choose to delay the detoxification process and start with rehabilitation. Many outpatient clinics offer replacement drugs that mimic the effects of Lortab. These replacement drugs, such as methadone and buprenorphine, keep opioid levels high enough to prevent withdrawal symptoms but are too weak to produce euphoria when administered as directed.

Opioid dependence affects each person in a slightly different way, so no single treatment approach is right for everyone. Self-detoxification may work for one person, for example, while inpatient care works best for another. Furthermore, an individual may participate in several forms of treatment, as his personal needs change throughout the recovery process.

Self Detox

Self-detox is the oldest and most natural form of Lortab detoxification. Patients wean themselves from Lortab by taking smaller daily doses to acclimate their bodies to lowered opioid levels gradually. Slow tapering reduces the severity of withdrawal symptoms to tolerable levels for most people.

Cold turkey

Stubborn withdrawal symptoms may prevent someone from tapering Lortab successfully. Some people try to “quit cold-turkey” and discontinue Lortab suddenly. Someone who quits cold turkey relies on determination and self-control to avoid drug use long enough to complete the detoxification process.

Natural remedies

Some people incorporate natural remedies into a self-detoxification plan, using acupuncture, meditation, yoga or massage to reduce the discomfort of Lortab detoxification. A person might take ginger or peppermint to sooth nausea, for example, or try chamomile or cayenne to stop diarrhea.

Self-detoxification can include medicines to ease withdrawal symptoms. The Thomas Recipe is one well-known approach to self-detoxification, calling for Xanax or Librium to calm the patient and help him sleep, vitamin B6 and hot baths for muscle aches and L-Tyrosine for a burst of much-needed energy.

When done properly, Lortab self-detoxification does result in a drug-free state.

Medical Detox

Many experts recommend Lortab detoxification in a medical facility staffed with trained professionals. This medical detoxification can occur as an inpatient or at an outpatient facility.

Outpatient detoxification is appropriate for those patients that have been dependent on opioids for more than a year and who require little supervision. The outpatient clinic supplies the patient with the drugs he will need to complete Lortab detoxification and achieve a drug-free state at home.

Outpatient clinics frequently offer drug maintenance therapy with opioid replacement drugs methadone, buprenorphine, Subutex and Suboxone. When taken as directed, these drugs interrupt the detoxification process so that patients do not feel withdrawal symptoms. The patient remains in an opioid-dependent state, dependent on the replacement drug, while he participates in rehabilitation. Once he learns how to live drug-free, he weans himself from the replacement drug.


German laboratories first synthesized methadone in 1939 as a pain reliever. In 1964, doctors developed methadone as a response to an epidemic of heroin use sweeping across New York City. The FDA approved methadone for use in the treatment of opioid dependence in 1972.

About 100,000 Americans now use a methadone maintenance program to control dependence on Lortab and other opioids. Most patients come to an approved methadone clinic daily to drink a beverage containing methadone syrup. The effects of this dose of methadone last for 24 to 36 hours. Long-term patients may take enough methadone home to last a few days.


Buprenorphine allows a little more flexibility than do methadone treatments. Patients take buprenorphine three times a week, placing a tablet under the tongue where it dissolves. There is a risk for intravenous abuse as recreational users dissolve buprenorphine before injecting it into a vein.

Suboxone and Subutex

Drug makers address the potential for buprenorphine abuse by adding naloxone to the brand name buprenorphine products, Suboxone and Subutex. When taken under the tongue as directed, naloxone has little to no effect. With intravenous use, however, naloxone neutralizes the effects of buprenorphine. Naloxone not only prevents the consumer from getting high, it also causes withdrawal symptoms in opioid-dependent abusers.

Inpatient Lortab Detoxification
Inpatient Lortab detoxification offers maximum patient monitoring along with cutting-edge medicines and procedures that reduces the uncomfortable and demoralizing aspects of withdrawal. The most successful inpatient procedures use multiple prescription medications to treat the patient’s wide variety of withdrawal symptoms.

Inpatient Lortab detoxification is appropriate for those who:

  • Have suffered an overdose or who cannot receive safe and effective treatment outside of a hospital setting
  • Are at risk for developing severe withdrawal symptoms or complications
  • Have co-existing health problems that make outpatient care unsafe
  • Have a documented history of not engaging in or benefiting from less restrictive programs
  • Struggle with psychiatric problems that impair participation in outpatient treatment plans, such as acute psychosis or depression with suicidal thought
  • May pose a danger to themselves or to others
  • Have not responded to less restrictive approaches to treatment

Rapid Opiate Detox

Most experts agree rapid detox is the most efficient and humane approach to Lortab detoxification. Rapid detox patients receive anesthesia and sedatives prior to the usual detoxification and anti-withdrawal drugs so that they doze in a comfortable “twilight sleep” during Lortab detoxification. The patient awakens a couple hours later, refreshed and renewed.

Our detox center: Who we are and what we do

We are a fully accredited hospital staffed with board-certified anesthesiologists and other medical professionals who believe in treating patients as people, not as drug addicts. We have used the most advanced techniques and state-of-the-art medications to deliver compassionate and effective care for more than a decade.

We screen patients in our accredited facility, searching for pre-existing illnesses that may interfere with recovery. We learn about our patient’s individuals needs and create a professional treatment plan to fit those needs. After complete detoxification through rapid detox, patients continue the recovery process in our aftercare facility.

Detox Comparisons

Each form of Lortab detoxification has it benefits and drawback. Without medicines to ease withdrawal symptom, self-detoxification is the least expensive form of treatment but it poses the highest risk for complications. Since the patient does not seek medical care from a doctor’s office or clinic, self-detoxification provides maximum privacy but also offers minimum medical assistance when things go wrong.

Outpatient care offers the greatest degree of flexibility. Outpatient detoxification and drug maintenance programs are better than self-detoxification in that they provide medications and professional guidance to make treatment more comfortable. Outpatient care reduces the risk for complications and relapse. As a drawback, however, outpatient care can drag on for months or years.

Inpatient care offers complete detoxification before discharging the patient to rehabilitation. Inpatient care offers close patient monitoring, anti-withdrawal drugs and care for pre-existing conditions. Inpatient care enjoys the highest completion rates among all forms of therapy: about 66 percent of participants in inpatient treatment complete the program whereas only 42 percent of participants complete outpatient treatment.

Inpatient care provides relief in a shorter amount of time. The average length of stay for inpatient detoxification is 4 days, compared with 197 days for medication-assisted therapy at an outpatient clinic.

Rapid detox offers the fastest and most humane approach to complete detoxification, bringing the patient to a drug-free state in a matter of hours rather than days or months. Rapid detox frees the patient from those uncomfortable and demoralizing withdrawal symptoms that could interfere with his recovery.

Detox Possible Complications

Lortab detoxification is not a life-threatening process but uncontrolled or prolonged withdrawal symptoms can cause dangerous complications that could prove to be fatal. Pre-existing medical conditions and co-existing substance abuse problems increase the risk for these complications, as do pregnancy and long-term or severe substance abuse.

Relapse is the primary complication to Lortab detoxification. Even with professional treatment, relapse rates for drug addiction are 40 to 60 percent. Relapse increases the risk for toxic overdose, as the detoxification process reduces the body’s tolerance to Lortab, making the individual more sensitive to its effects. This reduced tolerance makes it possible for someone to overdose on a weaker dose of Lortab than he used to take before experiencing even minor withdrawal symptoms.

Self Detox Possible Complications

Uncontrolled withdrawal symptoms and the lack of professional monitoring can lead to complications during self-detoxification. The patient may suffer severe or protracted vomiting and diarrhea, resulting in dehydration and imbalances in potassium, sodium and other electrolytes. The patient may suffer aspiration, or vomiting and inhaling stomach contents. Aspiration may lead to fluid in the patient’s lungs or lung infections.

As with other forms of Lortab detoxification, relapse is a major complication during self-detoxification. Without the protection of medications or professional supervision, patients experience the full brunt of withdrawal symptoms. Many resort to taking more Lortab just to end the detoxification process.

The withdrawal symptoms associated with self-detoxification can interact with pre-existing conditions and co-existing substance abuse problems to produce unexpected and potentially serious complications.

Outpatient Care Possible Complications

Outpatient care reduces the risk for complications associated with opioid dependence but this approach to treatment is itself associated with complications.

Without intense patient monitoring, those who attempt outpatient detoxification using a kit provided by an outpatient clinic may still suffer withdrawal symptoms and complications. Patients may take detoxification drugs improperly or relapse to drug abuse.

Some outpatients become dependent on the replacement drug and have trouble quitting after completing rehabilitation. About a quarter of all methadone users continue taking the drug for the rest of their lives while another 25 percent eventually quit taking drugs completely; a full 50 percent of all methadone patients go on and off treatments forever.

Methadone may cause life-threatening complications including slowed heartbeat and breathing problems. A methadone consumer faces the highest risk for complications with his first doses of methadone, when switching from another opioid to methadone and after dosage increases. Someone taking methadone should seek medical help immediately if he experiences symptoms such as slow, shallow or difficult breathing, or fast, slow or irregular heartbeat. Other complications associated with methadone include extreme drowsiness and feeling faint, dizzy or confused.

Overdose from prescription painkillers now claim 15,500 American lives each year; methadone accounts for about one-third of those deaths. Many of these deaths are associated with improper administration and use. Buprenorphine is also associated with danger from improper administration and abuse.

Inpatient Detox Possible Complications

With nurses and other medical professionals available to respond to problems as they arise, inpatient care provides the greatest protection against complications, but they do occur. Patients may suffer complications associated with pre-existing conditions or withdrawal from co-existing substances, especially alcohol, benzodiazepines, sedatives and anti-anxiety drugs.

As with other forms of Lortab detoxification, it is possible for a patient to relapse after release from an inpatient institution. Detoxification is only one step in recovery and, by itself, does little to deter substance abuse.

Rapid Detox Possible Complications

Rarely, patients have an allergic reaction to the drugs used in rapid detox procedures. High doses of sedatives may cause the patient to have trouble with breathing, blood pressure or heart rate. The patient may suffer infection, bruising or swelling at the anesthesia administration site.

Detox Myths

Despite decades of medical research and clinical experience in doctor’s offices and rehabilitation centers, myths shrouding Lortab detoxification prevent some people from getting the help they need to overcome opioid dependence.

Self Detox Myths

Myth: Self-detoxification is just mind over matter - anyone can overcome dependence on Lortab with enough discipline.
Fact: While self-discipline is an important tool in avoiding relapse, Lortab detoxification is an intense physiological process that causes actual physical symptoms.

Myth: The inclusion of prescription and non-prescription drugs makes homemade treatment plans like The Thomas Recipe safe and effective.
Fact: Only a doctor has the education and the legal power to develop a treatment plan and prescribe safe and effective drugs to ease Lortab detoxification.

Outpatient Detox Myths

Myth: Throwing opioid-dependent people in jail is cheaper than treatment.
Fact: One year of methadone costs approximately $4,700 per patient while a year of imprisonment costs $24,000 per prisoner.

Myth: Methadone is the fast track to a drug-free life.
Fact: Methadone is a drug replacement that does not bring the patient to an opioid-free state. Furthermore, drug replacement therapy is a long-term treatment, intended to last 12 months or more.

Inpatient Detox Myths

Myth: Lortab detoxification is pointless: all drug-dependent people relapse.
Fact: Relapse rates for drug addiction are similar to those of other chronic diseases, such as diabetes. In fact, drug relapse rates are better than relapse rates for high blood pressure and asthma.

Myth: Lortab detoxification is a waste of money.
Fact: For every dollar it spends on drug treatment, a community can expect a return of $4 to $7 in reduced drug-related crime rates, criminal justice costs and theft. Add in savings from healthcare costs and these yields spring to $12 gained for every dollar spent.

Rapid Detox Myths

Myth: Physical pain and demoralizing emotional discomfort is an important part of Lortab detoxification, serving as deterrents to future drug abuse.
Fact: Suffering is never an appropriate part of an effective treatment plan for any illness, including opioid dependence. Rapid detox is the most humane approach to medical detoxification, erasing all discomfort associated with detoxification.

Myth: Complete detoxification takes days or weeks.
Fact: It takes a trained anesthesiologist one to two hours to perform rapid detox, bringing the patient to a drug-free state quickly and safely.

Detox and Pregnancy
Lortab detoxification is unsafe for pregnant women. Currently, methadone is the only approved approach to treating opioid dependence in pregnant women.

Opioid dependent women have a higher incidence of medical conditions that can interfere with pregnancy, including anemia, blood infections, hepatitis, heart disease, pneumonia, depression and other mental disorders. Opioid dependence increases the risk for gestational diabetes, which is blood sugar levels that fluctuate wildly during pregnancy. Infectious diseases, sexually transmitted diseases, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis are more common in opioid-dependent women than in those without substance abuse disorders.

Dependence on opioids increases a woman’s risk for complications during pregnancy, labor and delivery including hemorrhage and uncontrolled bleeding, inflammation or separation of the tissue separating the mother from the baby, slowed fetal growth, premature labor and delivery, spontaneous abortion and fetal death. Methadone reduces these complications.

Self Detox and Pregnancy

Self-detoxification is unsafe for pregnant women, as complications may cause harm to the mother and unborn baby.

Outpatient and Pregnancy

Pregnant women should start methadone treatments as soon as possible to gain maximum protection from complications. Outpatient clinics typically start pregnant women on 10 mg to 20 mg of methadone each day and request the patient return each evening for evaluation. Based on her response to treatment, doctors may increase dosage by 5 to 10 mg the next day. This will continue until the doctors have stabilized the woman’s condition, usually within 48 to 72 hours.

A woman’s body changes throughout pregnancy. Some women require stronger doses of methadone in the later stages of pregnancy.

Inpatient and Pregnancy

An opioid-dependent woman may choose to start methadone treatments as an inpatient where doctors use advanced equipment to monitor the condition of the mother and unborn baby. This inpatient stay typically lasts three days.

Opiate detox symptoms

Lortab detoxification usually causes withdrawal symptoms that appear in two waves, with the first set of symptoms beginning a few hours after the last dose. Early on, the patient may feel agitated, anxious and have trouble sleeping. His eyes may be watery, his nose might run and he may sweat excessively. He may complain of muscle aches and yawn frequently.

Later, the opioid-dependent individual will have stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. His pupils may be dilated and he might have goose bumps.

What is the best method to detox from this drug?
The best method of Lortab detoxification depends heavily on the person’s individual needs. Someone should choose the least restrictive form of treatment that is still likely to provide safe and effective treatment. He should be honest with himself about his own abilities to abstain from drug use and choose a treatment form that reflects his personal need for structure and support.

Contact us for more information about what Lortab detoxification treatment plan may be best for you or for your loved one.