Lortab vs Percocet: Which one is stronger and what is the difference?

Why do doctors prescribe an opioid painkiller with acetaminophen for acute pain?

After a painful procedure, the dentist or medical doctor will often write a narcotic prescription for moderate to severe pain. It could be anything from mild tramadol up to the more potent Percocet or Percodan. More often, it is something in between, such as Vicodin, Vicodin ES, Norco, Lortab, or Lorcet, or possibly even Vicoprofen. This last group of opioid analgesics is made up of hydrocodone combination products. This means that they contain hydrocodone and acetaminophen.

Lortab and Percocet are both powerful opioid analgesic medications.

While these hydrocodone-containing opioid pills are considered to be a bit milder compared to oxycodone-containing Percocet, they are actually just as potent. They also have the same abuse potential. Because of the perception that hydrocodone is milder and safer than oxycodone, it is prescribed more often and abused more often.

What about other opioids, such as Dilaudid? Why are they not as popular?

For some reason, Dilaudid, a brand-name for hydromorphone, is not as commonly prescribed in tablet form for pain. During the past decade, it has had a boost in popularity for use by pain management doctors in treating chronic pain. It is often used as an alternative to oxycodone. It is available in strengths roughly equivalent to commonly available strengths of oxycodone and it works about as well for pain. In fact, a long-acting version of hydromorphone, Exalgo, was released as an alternative for OxyContin. Still, dentists and surgeons rarely write prescriptions for Dilaudid for acute pain to take home after surgery or dental work.

Which is better for chronic back pain, Lortab or Percocet?

Before resorting to these potent opioids, it is a good idea for a doctor to consider prescribing an anti-inflammatory if it can be used safely by the patient. A non-narcotic may work as well or better for the pain. And, it will not be habit-forming or have the risk of CNS depression, drowsiness, breathing problems or other serious side effects. If non-opioid treatments have been tried and did not work, the doctor may want to consider a mild opioid to start out. Possibly tramadol or codeine. If all else fails, a more potent combination product, such as Lortab or Percocet may be appropriate. It is hard to say which will work best for the management of chronic back pain. While many doctors and patients are under the impression that Percocet is stronger, Lortab may work as well or better for individual patients.

Can hydrocodone cause an overdose?

Just like oxycodone, hydrocodone can easily cause respiratory depression and overdose if abused, just like oxycodone or even heroin. Drug users should not have a false sense of security that pain medicines such as Lortab, Vicodin, and Norco are weaker opioids and less likely to lead to overdose. The risk of overdose and serious side effects is present for all opioids, including all of the hydrocodone combination products.

Is there a pain reliever that is completely safe that is not an opioid such as hydrocodone or oxycodone?

While there is a serious risk associated with the opioids, they are, in fact, relatively safe when prescribed responsibly and taken as directed. In the past, drug companies have tried to introduce other medications for pain, advertised as being as effective as opioids, but safer. Often, it turns out that such treatment options have serious safety issues that are uncovered after the release of the drug to the public. Duract was such as drug, approved for use by the FDA in the 90s and then taken off the market due to severe risk of liver damage. This drug was strongly advertised as being more effective than Percocet for pain relief. Unfortunately, in this case, Percocet was the safer, and probably more effective, drug.

Medical help for Lortab addiction.

There are patients who have taken several Lortabs daily for pain for many years without any problems. Yet, there are also many people who become addicted to Lortab as well. Addiction treatment for this opioid is available and is similar to the treatment that is provided for oxycodone or heroin addiction. Suboxone is an excellent option for Lortab addiction. If you are addicted to Lortab and take several tablets daily, you may benefit from Suboxone treatment. The doctor may prescribe a bit less than they would for heroin addiction. The effective dosage of Suboxone is determined in the first days and weeks of treatment during the induction period. Medication-assisted treatment  (MAT) with Suboxone, Subutex, ZubSolv or Sublocade is effective at eliminating cravings and withdrawal symptoms.  It works well for Lortab addiction and Percocet addiction as well as addiction to most other opioid drugs.