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Everything to Know About Liquid Hydrocodone

Liquid hydrocodone, also known as oral hydrocodone, is a pain-relieving medication that combines the opioid narcotic hydrocodone and the non-opioid pain reliever acetaminophen. The two medications might be better known in the pill form, but they are also combined in liquid form for oral administration.

You might know liquid hydrocodone by the name, Lortab Elixir, which is yellow and in the flavor of tropical punch. It contains 7.5 mg hydrocodone bitartrate and 500 mg per 15 mL acetaminophen, with 7 percent alcohol.

Liquid hydrocodone is primarily prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain. The hydrocodone works in the brain by attaching to the opioid receptors, which helps decrease the feelings of pain.

It also can give you a sense of euphoria and relaxation. Used as directed short-term, this medication can help ease physical pain. Long-term use of this drug can cause your mental and physical body some damage, so it’s best if used short-term under the care of a physician.

The acetaminophen works by reducing fever and acts as an anti-inflammatory.

Liquid Hydrocodone Dosage

You should only take this medication as directed by your doctor. The dose of liquid hydrocodone is usually different for various patients, depending on different factors. Pay extra attention to the exact dose your doctor recommends, and take that dose, even if it doesn’t correlate with the typical dosage information.

There are various strengths of this medication so the dosage can vary depending on the strength. Also, your dose may be aimed at your particular medical issue, which can be different from someone else’s that depends on their condition.

A typical dose for children over the age of six and adults struggling with moderate to severe pain is one tablespoon every four to six hours as needed for pain. You should not take more than six tablespoons in a 24-hour period.

Note that you should not use a typical kitchen spoon for measurement, as this can be inaccurate. Using a tablespoon rather than a teaspoon for measurement can cause you to take more than directed. Ask your healthcare provider or purchase a dropper that assures you to measure correctly.

Is Liquid Hydrocodone Addictive?

Yes, liquid hydrocodone has the potential to be habit-forming, which means that you can become dependent on or addicted to it.  This is one reason you should only take as directed and don’t take it longer than your doctor recommends. If your pain subsides, you can stop taking this medication, even if your doctor prescribed it longer.  Don’t take more of it than has been directed either, as this could cause an overdose, which could cause death.

Older people tend to be more sensitive to pain medications, so care should be taken to use as directed, only for the time frame your doctor recommends.

You want to do all you can to prevent abuse, misuse, or addiction to liquid hydrocodone.

Liquid Hydrocodone Side Effects

As with most medications, there can be side effects that occur when you use the medicine.  These side effects can include addiction and maybe even overdose. This is why it’s so important to take only as directed and report any significant side effects to your physician.

Common side effects of liquid hydrocodone or Lortab elixir include:

  • Slower respiration
  • Slower heart rate
  • Feeling tired
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Mood changes

The Dangers of Acetaminophen

Since acetaminophen is an ingredient in liquid hydrocodone, beware of the danger of taking too much.  The build-up of this drug can cause liver damage, so do not take more than what is recommended. It is recommended to keep doses of acetaminophen to under 4,000 mg per day. Lortab elixir also has alcohol in it, which can be toxic on the liver.

What If I Miss A Dose?

If you realize that you’ve missed a dose of Lortab elixir, go ahead and take it when you realize this. However, do not take the next scheduled dose. Rather, skip that next scheduled dose and then go back to the regular dose schedule.

For example, if you’re taking a dose every four hours, and you take your 8 am dose, but forget to take your noon dose, take it when you realize this. Then, wait another four hours before taking that next dose. You should never double up doses.

Liquid Hydrocodone: Key Points

Here are some key points to keep in mind when taking liquid hydrocodone such as Lortab elixir:

  • This medicine includes acetaminophen, hydrocodone, and alcohol.
  • Liquid hydrocodone has the potential for addiction.
  • You should only use this medicine if your pain cannot be managed with non-opioid medications.
  • Liquid hydrocodone comes with some side effects.
  • You should never double up on doses.
  • You should use an eye dropper to measure your dose, rather than a kitchen spoon.
  • Always take Lortab elixir as directed by your physician.
  • Beware that high doses of acetaminophen can cause liver damage.

What If I Become Addicted To Liquid Hydrocodone?

If you believe that you’ve become addicted to liquid hydrocodone or Lortab elixir, please know that there is treatment available to help you break free from it. Many people who become addicted to an opioid did not intend to become addicted. Many were simply taking their medication as directed, but over time, their body became addicted to it.

Of course, there are others who misuse or abuse the drug, becoming addicted in that way. But regardless, if you’ve tried to stop taking the drug on your own and are suffering from withdrawal symptoms, there is help available.

It is important that you do not stop taking your medication abruptly or cold turkey. This can bring on some very uncomfortable or severe withdrawal symptoms. It will be important to taper or wean off the drug over time, preferably under the care of an addiction specialist.

Unique, Individualized Treatment

Some people might consider attending a residential treatment center so they can have monitoring 24/7 and be in a safe and secure environment. Others opt to attend an outpatient treatment program or work one-on-one with their doctor to taper off.

Feel free to give us a call so we can help you navigate your path toward freedom from this addiction.  We can answer your questions and help you get started on your unique recovery path. If you’re concerned about your physical pain as you come off liquid hydrocodone, know that there may be alternative pain-reduction avenues that do not involve opioids.

Pick up the phone and give us a call now, or chat with one of our trained staff members online. We’re here for you.

Sources

Mayo Clinic Hydrocodone And Acetaminophen (Oral Route). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/hydrocodone-and-acetaminophen-oral-route/proper-use/drg-20074089

Drugs.com. (2020, March 5) Hydrocodone and Acetaminophen Liquid. Retrieved from https://www.drugs.com/cdi/hydrocodone-and-acetaminophen-liquid.html

RX List. Lortab Elixir. Retrieved from https://www.rxlist.com/lortab-elixir-drug.htm#side_effects

healthline. (2016, October 7) Acetaminophen Overdose: What You Need to Know. Manuele, J. (National Council on Patient Information and Education), Slowiczek, L. PharmD. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/acetaminophen-overdose

U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2019, October 15) MedlinePlus. Hydrocodone. What side effects can this medication cause? Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a614045.html#side-effects

Web MD. Hydrocodone – Acetaminophen. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-251/hydrocodone-acetaminophen-oral/details

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