- The Dangers Of Snorting Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lortab, Norco, etc)
- Treatment For Hydrocodone Addiction
- Lortab 7.5
- Snorting Hydrocodone
- Does Snorting Hydrocodone Cause a Faster High?
- Side Effects
- Can Snorting Painkillers Cause an Overdose?
- Signs That Someone is Addicted to Hydrocodone
- Getting Help
- Similarities Between Lortab and Norco
- Differences Between Lortab and Norco
- Key Points: Lortab and Norco
The Dangers Of Snorting Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lortab, Norco, etc)
Treatment For Hydrocodone Addiction
A person struggling with hydrocodone addiction does not have to be alone. There are many inpatient treatment programs for opioid use disorder that immerse the individual in a community of love and support. Getting away from everyday life is often the first step toward recovery.
Treatment programs in inpatient drug rehab centers may be tailored to the individual. Many take a holistic approach, aiming to heal a person’s mind, body and spirit. The best programs go beyond treating the addiction and also address underlying issues that may contribute to substance misuse.
Some treatment plans include medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid addiction, which combines medication with various treatment methods such as behavioral therapy, counseling, and support groups. Other important aspects of treatment may be learning life skills, exercising coping techniques and rebuilding family relationships.
To learn more about the dangers of snorting hydrocodone and to explore treatment options, contact us today.
Written by Addiction Campuses Editorial Team
The most frequently reported adverse reactions are light-headedness, dizziness, sedation, nausea and vomiting. These effects seem to be more prominent in ambulatory than in non-ambulatory patients, and some of these adverse reactions may be alleviated if the patient lies down.
Other adverse reactions include:
Central Nervous System: Drowsiness, mental clouding, lethargy, impairment of mental and physical performance, anxiety, fear, dysphoria, psychic dependence, mood changes.
Gastrointestinal System: Prolonged administration of Lortab 7.5 (hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen tablets) /500 tablets may produce constipation.
Genitourinary System: Ureteral spasm, spasm of vesical sphincters and urinary retention have been reported with opiates.
Respiratory Depression: Hydrocodone bitartrate may produce dose-related respiratory depression by acting directly on the brain stem respiratory centers (see OVERDOSAGE).
Special Senses: Cases of hearing impairment or permanent loss have been reported predominantly in patients with chronic overdose.
Dermatological: Skin rash, pruritus.
The following adverse drug events may be borne in mind as potential effects of acetaminophen: allergic reactions, rash, thrombocytopenia, agranulocytosis.
Potential effects of high dosage are listed in the OVERDOSAGE section.
DRUG ABUSE AND DEPENDENCE:
Controlled Substance: Lortab 7.5 (hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen tablets) /500 tablets (Hydrocodone Bitartrate and Acetaminophen Tablets, USP, 7.5 mg/500 mg) are classified as a Schedule III controlled substance.
Abuse and Dependence: Psychic dependence, physical dependence, and tolerance may develop upon repeated administration of narcotics; therefore, this product should be prescribed and administered with caution. However, psychic dependence is unlikely to develop when hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen tablets are used for a short time for the treatment of pain.
Physical dependence, the condition in which continued administration of the drug is required to prevent the appearance of a withdrawal syndrome, assumes clinically significant proportions only after several weeks of continued narcotic use, although some mild degree of physical dependence may develop after a few days of narcotic therapy. Tolerance, in which increasingly large doses are required in order to produce the same degree of analgesia, is manifested initially by a shortened duration of analgesic effect, and subsequently by decreases in the intensity of analgesia. The rate of development of tolerance varies among patients.
Read the entire FDA prescribing information for Lortab 7.5 (Hydrocodone Bitartrate and Acetaminophen Tablets)
Table of Contents Authored By Eric Patterson, MSCP, NCC, LPC
Hydrocodone is an opioid substance used in many prescription medications to treat cough and pain. Hydrocodone is available in formulations of pure hydrocodone (Hysingla, Zohydro) or in combination with other pain relievers like ibuprofen (Vicoprofen) or acetaminophen (Vicodin, Lortab, Norco) 1,2.
Hydrocodone produces effects similar to other opioids, including oxycodone and morphine 3.
It is the most frequently prescribed opioid pain reliever in the US. Of the 207 million prescriptions for pain medications in 2013, hydrocodone accounted for approximately 124 million of them; in other words, roughly 60% of all painkiller prescriptions are for hydrocodone 4. High prescription rates like these contribute to the ever-prevalent problem of opioid abuse in the U.S.
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, in 2013 2:
- More than 24 million people in the U.S. had abused hydrocodone at some point in their lives.
- Over 5% of high school seniors admitted to abusing Vicodin in the previous year.
All those who abuse hydrocodone aren’t necessarily obtaining the drug illicitly (for example, by purchasing diverted prescriptions). Any hydrocodone user—whether or not they hold a prescription—can misuse the drug. Hydrocodone abuse occurs any time a user 3:
- Takes more of their medication than recommended.
- Consumes the substance more often than recommended.
- Takes a prescription from someone else.
- Uses the substance to achieve a euphoric high or sense of relaxation.
- Changes the method of ingestion, for example crushes and snorts it, to heighten the drug’s effects.
Does Snorting Hydrocodone Cause a Faster High?
Yes. Snorting hydrocodone can cause a faster (and more dangerous) high in many situations.
Any time a person changes a drug’s route of administration, the effects of the substance are modified. With many substances, there is a direct relationship between the speed of onset and the strength of the drug effects. Effects that are slower to develop will last longer but provide a less euphoric influence. Effects with a faster onset (such as those achieved by snorting and injecting) come on strong, but in many cases, they will last for a shorter amount of time.
The act of amplifying the absorption of or release of a drug into the system to maximize the concentration of active substance in the brain is known as “dose dumping” 5. Dose dumping is a dangerous phenomenon in terms of increasing the risk of adverse drug effects, drug toxicity and/or overdose, as well as the potential for addiction.
Extended-release formulations are frequently abused because they contain larger amounts of hydrocodone. When a long-acting medication is tampered with, the substance that is meant to be absorbed over a long period is available immediately. While there is a strong appeal for those seeking an intense high, the dangers of bypassing the extended-release mechanism are significant 4,5. As one of the primary risks, overdose may easily result from an immediate release of a large amount of hydrocodone.
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While no user is immune to the side effects of it, those who abuse the drug may experience increasingly severe effects compared with those who take it according to the prescription. These side effects may include 1,11:
- Rapid mood changes.
- Increased worry and anxiety.
- Trouble thinking clearly.
- Drowsiness and/or problems sleeping.
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded.
- Diminished appetite.
- Stomach pain.
- Back pain.
- Ringing in ears.
- Dry mouth and throat.
- Skin problems (itchiness, rash).
- Problems urinating.
Depending on the individual and the magnitude of drug use, more troublesome and potentially dangerous side effects of hydrocodone use can emerge, such as 1,11:
- Nausea and uncontrollable vomiting.
- Slowed or inconsistent breathing patterns.
- Lack of coordination; loss of motor control.
- Frequent periodic loss of consciousness.
People snorting hydrocodone products containing acetaminophen, such as Vicodin, risk liver toxicity if large enough amounts are consumed 2, as acetaminophen taken in excess may damage the liver.
People snorting Vicodin and other hydrocodone products put themselves at risk of other effects relating specifically to nasal insufflation. These risks include 7:
- Tissuenecrosis, or severe tissue injury within the nasal cavity.
- Nasal crusting.
- Perforated nasal septum or palate—holes or tearing in the nose and roof of the mouth.
- Facial pain and swelling.
- Ear pain.
- Trouble swallowing.
- Sinus congestion or running nose.
Can Snorting Painkillers Cause an Overdose?
Yes. Snorting painkillers like hydrocodone can easily result in an overdose, especially in the case of extended release formulations (e.g., Zohydro).
Any misuse of prescription opioids increases the risk of overdose, and opioid overdose is a major concern in the United States 3. Painkillers like hydrocodone accounted for 19,000 deaths in 2014—more than 3 times the number seen in 2001 3. Hydrocodone/acetaminophen products, in particular, account for more than 1 out of every 7 overdoses 5.
An overdose is rarely a risk for people that use the medication as prescribed, but the risk increases when people manipulate the substance to enhance the high 4. Just one large dose of hydrocodone can trigger an overdose 3. Additionally, mixing it with other substances that may slow breathing— including alcohol and sedatives like benzodiazepines—lead to more frequent harm 3.
Overdose is also more likely among those who take higher doses to combat an increasing tolerance. As tolerance to a drug builds, the substance may no longer produce the strong effects it once did. People with a high tolerance to hydrocodone will often consume high doses to overcome the decrease in perceived high but, in doing so, increase their chances of overdose. Compounding overdose risks is the fact that tolerance is fluid. If someone has not used it for some time and returns to use at the same dose, their body could be unprepared for the strong effects and experience an overdose 4.
Signs of hydrocodone overdose include 1,3,11:
- Marked changes in pupil size; pupils unreactive to light stimuli.
- Breathing problems marked by slowed, shallow, irregular, or stopped breathing.
- Irregular,slowed, or stoppedheartbeat.
- Cold or blue skin, lips, or fingernails.
- Extreme weakness, loss of coordination.
- Profound drowsiness; obtundation.
- Loss of consciousness/coma.
- Uncontrollable vomiting.
Signs That Someone is Addicted to Hydrocodone
Snorting hydrocodone is linked to increased risk of addiction 4. This is due to the short time between snorting the substance and experiencing the high. Someone who continually snorts hydrocodone will become conditioned to associate hydrocodone use with the pleasant effects of dopamine being released in the brain 3. In some cases, the artificial surges of dopamine associated with drug use can be so rewarding that the addicted individual will seek to repeat use without regard to the unwanted or dangerous consequences that may transpire.
Someone that is addicted to hydrocodone may 8:
- Use hydrocodone in larger amounts for longer periods of time.
- Spend excessive amounts of time attempting to acquire and ingest the drug.
- Spend a lot of time recovering from the influence of the drug.
- Have strong cravings to use the drug.
- Display increasing problems in established relationships.
- Be unable to reduce or end their use in the long term.
- Struggle to maintain responsibilities at home, work, or school.
Someone that is specifically snorting hydrocodone may display other signs that might indicate the presence of a problem include:
- Possessing tools to crush and snort the powder including straws, mirrors, and credit cards.
- White powdery substance on their clothes, hands, or nose.
- Sniffing or wiping their nose often.
Remember, even someone prescribed the medication can be addicted to hydrocodone 3.
Major barriers to beginning a drug-free life are the unwanted and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms that present when someone who is dependent on hydrocodone ends use or abruptly decreases their intake 9,10.
Symptoms created by hydrocodone withdrawal include 9,11:
- Restlessness and agitation.
- Pain in muscles and bones.
- Inability to sleep.
- Cold flashes.
- Teary eyes.
- Runny nose.
- Goose bumps.
- Loss of appetite.
- Changes in breathing and heartbeat.
- Involuntary muscle twitches.
For someone who is addicted, experiencing withdrawal, and needing help to quit, there are a variety of treatment options10:
- Detoxification. This treatment manages the symptoms of withdrawal in a controlled way with the supervision of medical professionals to reduce symptoms and improve comfort. Medically assisted detox programs may use medications (see below) to alleviate withdrawal and control cravings, whereas social detox programs will simply provide a safe and comfortable environment in which to rid your body of hydrocodone.
- Pharmacotherapies. Available throughout the recovery process, medications can be used to reduce withdrawal symptoms and prevent relapse. Other types of medications can benefit those in recovery by blocking the effects of opioids (to deter future use) or by treating any co-occurring mental health issues.
- Behavioral therapies.Beginning at the conclusion of detox, behavioral therapies refer to a collection of treatments aimed at modifying the thoughts, feelings, and/or behaviors of the person in recovery. Therapy can focus on past issues contributing to substance abuse, as well as ways to avoid relapse in the future. Addiction treatment therapy is available on an inpatient or outpatient basis.
The abuse of prescription opioid medications in the US is an epidemic that continues to claim many lives and cause an array of harmful effects. To reduce the risk of experiencing these effects firsthand, consider seeking treatment. Professional treatment can give you your life back. To begin the process, call 1-888-744-0069Who Answers? today.
- U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2016). Hydrocodone Combination Products.
- Drug Enforcement Administration. (2014). Hydrocodone.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens. (2016). Prescription Pain Medications: Opioids.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2014). America’s Addiction to Opioids: Heroin and Prescription Drug Abuse.
- Gasior, M., Bond, M., & Malamut, R. (2016). Routes of Abuse of Prescription Opioid Analgesics: A Review and Assessment of the Potential Impact of Abuse-Deterrent Formulations. Postgraduate Medicine, 128, 85-96.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2007). The Neurobiology of Drug Addiction.
- Alexander, D., Alexander, K., & Valentino, J. (2012). Intranasal Hydrocodone-Acetaminophen Abuse Induced Necrosis of the Nasal Cavity and Pharynx. The Laryngoscope, 122(11), 2378–2381.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016). What to Do If Your Adult Friend or Loved One Has a Problem with Drugs.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2014). Research Report Series: Prescription Drug Abuse.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2012). Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide.
- U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2016). Hydrocodone.
Last updated on September 5, 2019 2019-09-05T17:26:59+00:00 Finding the perfect treatment is only one phone call away!
6 Shares By The Recovery Village Editor Thomas Christiansen Reviewer Christina Caplinger Updated on01/23/20
Lortab and Norco are two common brand name, prescription-only medications. Both drugs contain hydrocodone, an opioid pain reliever, as well as acetaminophen, a non-opioid pain medication.
Similarities Between Lortab and Norco
Both drugs are taken by mouth and provide similar, pain-relieving effects.
Hydrocodone and acetaminophen are often combined into one product because each medication has properties that combat pain in different ways within the body.
Hydrocodone stops pain signals from transmitting, while acetaminophen blocks the formation of chemicals in the body that increases pain. This combination effect is why Lortab, Norco, and other opioid combination drugs are very effective for pain control.
Lortab and Norco are both prescribed for the management of pain that cannot be controlled with non-opioid medications. Use of either medication can lead to physical dependence and addiction. Any medication containing an opioid carries that risk, so it is important to only use the lowest effective amount of the drug for the shortest possible amount of time.
Side Effects of Lortab and Norco
Norco and Lortab can cause several adverse effects, due to the hydrocodone component. These effects commonly include:
- Decreased respiratory rate
Although the opioid component is the more powerful painkiller and is known to be addictive, the acetaminophen component of these medications carries serious risks as well. Acetaminophen can cause damage to the liver when taken in large doses, especially in a person who already has liver problems. It is important to exercise caution when using Lortab and Norco due to the opioid-related risks as well as the risk of liver damage due to acetaminophen.
Differences Between Lortab and Norco
Although Lortab and Norco are very similar medications, there are key differences between them. The main difference between Lortab and Norco is that Lortab is currently only available as a liquid syrup, while Norco is supplied as a tablet. The ratios of hydrocodone to acetaminophen are also slightly different between the two medications.
What is Lortab?
Every 15 milliliters of Lortab syrup contains 10 milligrams of hydrocodone and 300 milligrams of acetaminophen. The usual dosage of Lortab for adults is 11.25 milliliters every four to six hours. Each dose contains about 7.5 milligrams of hydrocodone and 225 milligrams of acetaminophen. Lortab syrup also contains seven percent alcohol.
A measuring device calibrated for precise measurement of the dose is necessary to administer Lortab safely. Such devices are usually provided by a pharmacy that dispenses Lortab when a patient picks up their prescription.
What is Norco?
Norco comes in several different dose strengths in tablet form. The usual Norco dosage in adults is one to two tablets every four to six hours as needed for pain relief. The following list details the amounts of hydrocodone and acetaminophen contained in one tablet for different Norco strengths:
- Norco 5/325: Five milligrams of hydrocodone and 325 milligrams of acetaminophen
- Norco 7.5/325: 7.5 milligrams of hydrocodone and 325 milligrams of acetaminophen
- Norco 10/325: 10 milligrams of hydrocodone and 325 milligrams of acetaminophen
Other Products Containing Hydrocodone and Acetaminophen
Other medications contain the same active ingredients as Lortab and Norco include the following:
- Lorcet (also Lorcet HD and Lorcet Plus)
- Vicodin (also Vicodin ES and Vicodin HP)
- Several generic medications, including oral tablets and oral solution
Key Points: Lortab and Norco
When comparing Lortab and Norco, consider the following:
- Both Lortab and Norco contain hydrocodone (an opioid painkiller) and acetaminophen (a non-opioid pain reliever)
- Lortab only comes in a liquid form while Norco only comes in a tablet form
- There are other brand name and generic products which contain hydrocodone and acetaminophen as active ingredients
- Hydrocodone use comes with the risk of addiction, dependence, and misuse
- Overdosing on the medications is possible
- Acetaminophen can cause liver damage when taken in high doses
- The combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen allows each medicine to be stronger than they would be on their own
- It’s important to follow the dosage instructions provided by your doctor since there are risks associated with both the hydrocodone and the acetaminophen contained in these medications
If you live with an addiction to Lortab or Norco, contact The Recovery Village to speak to a representative about addiction treatment. At The Recovery Village patients are met with professional support and care, allowing them to focus on their treatment and sobriety. You deserve a healthier future, call today.
Dailymed. “Lortab (syrup).” November 2018. Accessed April 16, 2019.
Dailymed. “Norco (tablet).” October 2018. Accessed April 16, 2019.
Dailymed. “Vicodin (tablet).” December 2018. Accessed April 16, 2019.
Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.