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Some Statistics Relating to Lortab

The drug hydrocodone, which when combined with acetaminophen is often sold under the brand name Lortab, is a very effective drug for use in the control of coughing. It is an opiate, which also allows it to be used with a high degree of effectiveness in the treatment of moderate levels of pain. However, a look at the full range of Lortab statistics demonstrates that there are negative aspects to the use of this drug as well.

Statistics Relating to Effectiveness

Hydrocodone, as found in Lortab, is considered to be around six times as effective as codeine when given as an orally administered drug. This means that, in a case where the appropriate dose of codeine was 30 milligrams, if Lortab was used the required dosage would be only five milligrams. It was once broadly accepted that hydrocordone was about as effective as morphine in the matter of controlling pain in human beings. However, more recent studies have led experts to alter their views on this, and in general the required dose is about one and a half times that of morphine in an equivalent situation.

One statistic which shows quite vividly just how popular and useful a drug Lortab and its associated products are is that, in the United States alone, more than two hundred products containing hydrocodone are now on the market. Lortab is merely one of the most widely used of these, but other drugs exist which combine hydrocodone with ibuprofen - as in Vicoprofen - and various antihistamines. The drug is available in two different types of orally taken form, liquid and tablet.

The Abuse of Lortab and Hydrocodone

Because Lortab and other hydrocodone-based narcotics are frequently abused, owing to their opioid effects, it is important to be aware of the figures relating to how it is used and abused. The fact that hydrocodone alone is listed as Schedule III by the United States Food and Drug Administration, thereby making it relatively easily available, contributes to it being the subject of prescription scams, in which people will call in to a doctor's office and pretend that they have been prescribed the drug for a legitimate reason.

The most common doses are five, seven and a half, and ten milligrams, and even the smaller doses can have effects on behavior which may last for as much as five hours. A single tablet of the drug can fetch anything from two dollars upward on the black market, with prices of ten dollars not being unheard of where demand is particularly strong. A full eight-ounce bottle of the pills tends to go for between twenty and forty dollars, although even higher prices have been reported in certain situations.

How Much is it Abused?

The level of abuse of hydrocodone-based drugs such as Lortab has increased dramatically over the last two decades. In the 1990s alone, the average amount of the drug consumed by Americans increased about threefold, while in just three years - between 1994 and 1997 - the number of dosage units which were diverted to unauthorized users increased from around seven million to about eleven million. This represents an increase of over 50 per cent in the number of diversions during just that three-year period.

Another striking statistic is reflected in the numbers of times hydrocodone products have been prescribed. In as short a period as the two years between 1998 and 2000, the number of prescriptions went up from 56 million to 89 million, which again is an increase of well over 50 per cent. Visits to the Emergency Room have increased at an even higher rate, with admissions in 2000 being over five times higher than they had been just one decade earlier, with a reported figure of almost 20,000 visits in total.

Government authorities have been forced to act more and more frequently, and on a larger scale, in order to try to stem this abuse of the drug. The laboratory operation of the DEA seized well over one million tablets of Lortab and other hydrocodone products in the single year of 1997. The dramatic increase in the abuse of the drug has led to repeated calls for it to be reclassified and moved to a more restrictive category, in the hope of preventing at least some people gaining access to it illicitly. This has been combined with more educational measures, aimed at urging those who misuse Lortab and its related substances to obtain professional medical advice.


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