How long does Lortab stay in your system?

Lortab doesn’t stay in your system long. In fact, blood and urine screens for Lortab probably won’t detect Lortab if it’s been several days since last use. More on Lortab detection windows here.

minute read
Reviewed by: Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS

MAIN POINTS: Lortab is detectable in blood for 24 hours after use, in urine 6-24 hours after use, and in hair for 90 days or longer. In fact, Lortab is most likely to be found on a drug test or opiate screen if you’ve taken Lortab within the last 24 hours. After that, the amounts of metabolites in blood and urine are low enough that many labs won’t pick up on them.


Taking Lortab

Lortab is a tablet containing the narcotic pain medication hydrocodone and the over-the-counter painkiller acetaminophen.  According to this 2014 SAMHSA Slide Show on Hydrocodone and Oxycodone Drug Testing, hydrocodone with acetaminophen, is the most frequently prescribed opioid drug in the U.S. Why do most people take it?

The main uses of Lortab include treating moderate to severe pain. In fact, its main active ingredient is hydrocodone. Hydrocodone is considered an opioid, or a made made, synthetic opiate. As an opioid, Lortab works by affecting the central nervous system and changes the way the body and brain respond to pain. But it comes with significant side effects.

Lortab can also cause feelings of euphoria, which are habit forming. This means that many people develop either a physical or psychological dependent on the drug which can lead to addiction. Risk of addiction increases when people take Lortab to get high. Because abuse of Lortab results in addiction, doctors screen the presence and levels of hydrocodone in routine drug tests.

Lortab is intended to be taken orally, but some people crush and snort the pill for illicit purposes. Other people may take Lortab in combination with alcohol, which can be extremely dangerous and raises the risk of serious adverse effects, including coma or death. If you are regularly getting high on Lortabs, this use can be detected. In fact, heavy or chronic use Lortab can be detected for longer periods of time.

Peak Levels and Half life

 Hydrocodone reaches its peak level in the blood after about 1.3 hours. The half life for the hydrocodone found in Lortab in the typical adult is just under 4 hours. However, the amount of Lortab in someone’s system will vary on the amount of the medication taken.

Still, Lortab is metabolized fairly quickly in the body. This is why it’s difficult to detect Lortab in someone who isn’t a heavy or habitual user, especially after more than 24 hours. However, some methods of testing such as hair sample drug screens can identify Lortab use for up to 3 months after last dose. Still, the more common blood toxicology or urine drug screens for Lortab have a very short detection period.

Want to learn more?

This 2015 SAMHSA slide show outlines precise guidelines on hydrocodone cut-off and metabolite limits.

Blood Sample Tests

 Because of its short half-life, Lortab is unlikely to be detected in the blood after about 24 hours. A blood test for Lortab would mostly be useful in cases of medical emergency, impaired driving, or any other situation where there’s reason to believe someone is currently under the influence of Lortab.

Hair Sample Tests

Lortab can also be detected in hair samples. Hair testing can usually detect substance abuse that occurred up to 90 days before, but the test can’t show how long ago the drug was taken. Plus, hair samples for Lortab are relatively expensive, making these tests less likely during pre-employment or probation drug screens.

Urine Sample Tests

Lortab reaches its peak concentration in urine after about 8 hours. At that point, levels in urine begin to taper off. Depending on the dose taken, Lortab may only be detectable for 6-24 hours after ingestion.

At Home Tests

Administering drug tests on your own at home has become fairly accurate. Indeed, many over-the-counter tests you find in pharmacies are sensitive to the presence of drugs in urine. This means that if drugs are present, you’ll see a preliminary positive test result. Still, you should save a part of the urine sample and put it on the side to send to a laboratory for a second test.

It is very important to send any at-home urine sample to a diagnostic laboratory to confirm a positive at-home result because certain foods, food supplements, beverages, or medicines can affect the results. Laboratory tests are the most reliable way to confirm drugs of abuse like hydrocodone. In fact, many things can affect the accuracy of an at home test, including but not limited to:

  • drug interactions
  • food or drinks consumed before the test
  • the way you did the test
  • the way you stored the test or urine

Signs of a Problem

Lortab triggers physical dependence on hydrocodone, even in people who are using it for legitimate medical purposes. This means that users can develop a tolerance to Lortab, leading them to take Lortab in progressively larger doses. Additionally, if you are physically dependent on Lortab, you cannot stop taking Lortab abruptly without causing physical side effects. But physical dependence does not necessarily indicate addiction.

Like all opiate medications, Lortab is addictive. Lortab addiction occurs when you cannot stop taking Lortab, even if it is no longer in your body. Mental obsession and craving Lortab occur, even in spite of negative life consequences. Lortab addiction is especially risk because Lortab contains acetaminophen. So habitual Lortab abuse can cause serious liver damage or even liver failure.

How can you identify an addiction to painkiller drugs? Main signs of a problem with Lortab include:

  • Continuing to use Lortab, even after negative consequences to health, home, or work.
  • Craving the drug or thinking about it obsessively.
  • Loss on control of drug use (amount, frequency, or administration).
  • Needing Lortab to function normally.

If you’re a patient with a Lortab prescription and you’re having to take large doses for pain relief, speak to your doctor about adjusting your dosage or trying a different medication. If you’ve developed a dependence on the drug, but want to quit, your doctor can help you slowly wean yourself from the drug. Or if you think that you’re addicted to narcotics, there are support groups and medical treatments available to help. Again, your family doctor can help refer you to addiction treatment services in your area.

Now, your questions

We’ve taken a basic look at how Lortab is metabolized and how it stays in the body. We’ve also reviewed the detection window for Lortab using different types of drug screens. Finally, we invite your questions about Lortab use here. Do you still have questions about the length of time Lortab stays in your system? Please leave your Lortab questions here. We do our best to answer all legitimate questions with a personal and prompt reply.

Reference Sources: FDA: Drug of Abuse Testing Suggestions
PubMed Health: Drug Misuse: Opioid Detoxification
Forensic drug testing for opiates. VI. Urine testing for hydromorphone, hydrocodone, oxymorphone, and oxycodone with commercial opiate immunoassays and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry
Wisconsin Crime Laboratory System: Toxicology
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
Medical Reviewers
Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS serves as the Chief Medical Officer of the Texas Healt...

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a licensed medical professional.


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  1. On a 12 panel drug screen how long does hydocodone show up. After 32 hrs took 15 12 am and 15 mg at 6am. Eill it show up in urine test 32 hrs later

  2. My Dr says my Lortab(5mg twice a day, approx 10-12hrs apart) isn’t showing on my urine drug screen. I’ve been taking it 7days now. When should I take the urine test. Your article says it can only be detected 6-12hrs after injection SO if I take 5mg at 08 should I go to the lab around 11 or 1pm? Im not selling the drug I have severe osteoporosis and me spine shows signs of crumbling. Thanking you in advance for your time~

  3. im a small girl, about 5’8 and 115lbs. ive been taking hydrocodone almost every single day for the past 7 years. im slowing tapering myself off to quit my addiction all together. but im just curious to know, since ive been taking this medication for so long, will it take longer than 2-4 days to get out of my system through a urine test ?

    1. Hi Deelaney. Hydrocodone can be present up to 2 – 4 days in the urine. This detection period is longer for heavy and/or chronic users. If you want to learn more about the detection periods for certain substances, download our free e-book The Definitive Guide To Drug Testing

  4. If I took a Lortab 10 on a Friday morning n did not take another & then I took a drug test on Monday afternoon will it still show up in the test..???

  5. I’m 335 pounds, took a 10mg Lorratab yesterday at midnight, it’s now been 12 hours. Ive peed 6 times since then and I just came on my menstrual. Test tomorrow ar 3:45pm. I don’t take them on a regular. Am I okay for tomorrow?

  6. I took 7 10mg loratabs yesterday and I want to take the 4 I have today but unfortunately I have a drug test on monday if I take the 4 10mg loratabs will I pass my drug test on monday?

  7. I was prescribed lortab for migraines. I don’t use them regularly but I have been taking 1/2 to 1 off and on for three weeks. Not everyday but one period was 6 days I took less then 6 pills. Will I experience any withdrawal symptoms this week? As I will not need to take any

  8. After taking loratabs for a couple of months and being a heavy user at that will it take for them to come out of your system completely for a urine test ??

  9. I took lortab 24hrs before hair follicle, neva in life took one b4! Do i have to worry about failing the test.. please reply!

  10. Hi my question is i read if i am on methadone and take lortab that it will take longer to be out of my urine. How much longer? And if it has been 5 days from my last time taking lortab will my urine b clean

  11. I’m in pain mngmnt and I ram out of my loritab early. I have a urine test tomorrow in the afternoon. I must have loritab in my urine to keep getting them, which by the way I do need them and I don’t sell them or abuser them. However this month I had to double the dose a couple times. Pain was very severe. Anyway I just found a half of a 5mg loritab. How long before my urine test should I take it so it will show up in my urine? Anyone know?

  12. I have a retina check at 5pm today. I took 10 mg. at 9:30 am. Will this stiil have an effect on the results of my retina check? Thank you very kindly for your assistance.

  13. I took 20 lortabs Saturday and Sunday. First time in 2 years. Can I pass a urine drug test wedsday if drink lots of water? Thank you

  14. I hav been takin tabs for bout a wk now i took one today on sunday an i hav a drug screen comein up friday would they be out of my system by then

  15. If I took a half of a 10mg. Loratab lastnight and other half this morning, then took urine test that same afternoon will it show positive on urinalysis??

  16. Hey, so, interesting bit of info here. If you think you may have OD’D and go to the ER still conscious they will give you activated charcoal capsules because that filters all impurities from your blood. Soooo….if you are stupid and abuse drugs you should keep some on hand as it could save you or a friends life. Costs like $12 for a bottle at Walgreens. The other interesting thing is if you are sweating a urinalysis you can take like 4 charcoal capsules and drink a shitload of water before bed. Wake up and piss like a fire hose, drink some more water and gatoraide, pee again, drink more water and gatoraide then go to the Dr. With no worries. Then get help because drug abuse is no joke.

  17. Im 33weeks pregnant n accidentally took 2 norco I thought was Tylenol! Will this b in babies system in 6 weeks when I deliver? Please help

  18. if i take a norco ten today how long would it be in my urine hav nt took any bout a month now .had surgery about a month ago anddon t take tem now, but have toothache want to no how long it would stay in urine if i took one today

  19. Hello, i have a hair test coming up I only use lortabs occasionally for back pain going months without taking them and only take half of a ten when I do…. should i be worried about the levels of opiate contained in them?!?! I haven’t taken one in about two weeks… will this result in a positive opiate result?!?!

  20. I took. 2 norco 7.5 Friday then Saturday I took 1 and half 7.5 was wondering if it would be out of my urinalysis by Tuesday 3pm

  21. I am perscribed loritab 7.5 i try not to take them unless really needed i give a urine sample to make sure i am using them i weigh 260 & 5’4 when should i take them so they will show up in my urine test ii need the meds a lot so i can’t afford not to have a positive test ??!!

  22. My sister is in a pain management program and has to take a drug test each month but she’s had surgery and recently went back to work and because of work was in more pain and needed a little something extra to take to work quick. If she has had to take a few 7.5mg lortabs for relief how long does it take 1 or 5 or 10 to be out of her system. She has to take a drug test in 4 days will it be out of het system by then. She hasn’t had to take anymore since then but if she has to how long does it take them to be out of your system and to not be detected on a drug screen test.

  23. If someone hadn’t taken lortab in about 4 months and they take 2 7.5s would they be able to pass a drug test in 24hrs or 48

  24. I take lortab 7.5mg twice daily and I will take my last dose on the 14th of July and I go to doctor the 16th of July will it still be in my system

  25. i took two loratb 10/325s on4/20/15 i have a ua test today 4/23/15 will they be out of my system very worried cant lose job please help tbanks

  26. Hi Brittny. Lortab is metabolized fairly quickly and is out of your system in about 24 hours since last use. So, with four days in between your last taken dose and the test itself, I believe you are completely in the safe zone. Good luck to you!

  27. Hi I took three lortabs about four days ago I haven’t been working for a few months and haven’t had insurance I was prescribed something for migranes while I was working but once my insurance stopped I stopped getting it and taking Excedrin migraine for my headaches a lot and tylenol but I get a migrane about 1-2 times a week and if I take to much Excedrin it makes me feel sick so my mom will give me a few of her lortabs to help it and sometimes it doesn’t help even. But I do take it a few times a week but I had a drug test for a job come up and only had four days in till i had to take it. Do you think it might still be detected? Help please and thank you!

  28. This sure is outdated. We can find this drug hydrocodone in urine in all humans for at least three days with the new nano-tech which is usually what is used in 2014 so 6 hours or a day is a joke.

    We scientists know better as do patients in pain management.

    It can be detectable up to 5 days in some people in urine but 3 in all per urine so don’t try to get away with it. It won’t work anymore.

  29. Hi I’ve been taking at least five 10mg lortabs Norco or Percocet every day for about 1 1/2 years. How long will it take to get out of my system. I’ve decided to stop. I have a job lined up. I need to know asap

  30. Hello nesha. The answer is no. As we wrote in the article, Lortab may only be detectable in the urine for 6 to 24 hours after ingestion.

  31. Want to know how long a loratab stays in your system I took one 7.5 on Friday for toothache that is the only one I have taken will it be in my urine test I take on Tuesday morning.

  32. took 4 vicodins 10mg each after 5 months not taking anything i drank a lot of water day before the test and it gave me about 41 hours the test is sent to the lab and its a dib test i believe how likely is it that ill b positive day before the test i drank about 1 liter of liquid my urine was clear and i took a vitamin b to give it some color and after i peed a little to make sure it was colored and it just looked like the color of the b12

  33. I’ve taken 14 hydrocodone 10mg over the past 3 days and have a UA Monday. First time I’ve taken it in over 3 months. Should I be concerned?

  34. Hello Chris. I’m not sure. Your question would be best addressed to a pharmacist. In lieu of an in-pharmacy visit, you could schedule a consult via phone to save time and energy. Best to you.

  35. I’m a paraplegic and I’ve been taking Endone for pain relief…only since about three weeks ago after a fall from my chair…I have been taking no more than 15mg a day over this time sometimes less…2 x 5 mg only in the morning…is it possible that Id be experiencing withdrawal symptoms between taking 10mg in the morning and my next intake the following day…I thought this long gap between doses would be a good thing to maximise the effect I need each morning…?

  36. I take half of a 7.5 a day for about a week now I took a half this morning and have a urin test tomorrow will that amount be detectable on the test

  37. Hello Brandon. Insomnia can be a side effect of Lortab withdrawal, but should peak 72 hours after last use and resolve within 7-10 days. Have you checked in with your prescribing doctor or reported this symptom yet?

  38. I’ve been taking Lortab 10/500 and switched to Norco 10/325. I had two shoulder surgeries last year and was on this medication for approximately 3 months straight, using it every day, 1 to 2 tablets every 4 to 6 hours, sometimes more if needed. My last dose was this past Monday morning. I am now done taking them. I have not been able to sleep the last two nights though. Is this a side effect and how long should it last?? Thanks

  39. Hello Sara. It’s possible that you can begin to taper off Lortab, but seek help from your obstetrician! You don’t need to do this alone, and you’ll need guidance about withdrawal for you AND your baby. Or call 1-800-662-HELP and look for a detox clinic in your area that works with pregnant moms.

  40. I have 2 weeks till I deliever my baby and I’ve been eating lortab 10s for back pain. I break them in half and might eat 2 10s a day. I quit yesterday cause I’m scared hosp will drug test. Will it be out of my system and babies? Please don’t judge me!

  41. Hello Reba. Opioids like hydrocodone (the main ingredient in Lortab) usually leave the system within 2-4 days after last administration. And most employer drug tests do not test for opioids unless they order an “Extended Opioid” class of drug testing.

  42. Ok so I took about 20 mgs of lortabs Saturday …its Wednesday now…is it out of my system? I’m not a very big person..I’m about 5’4 and 160 lbs…I had a drug test I just need to know if I should be worried about failing it. Because even if we have a script where I work I could get suspended for up to 5 days! (Its crazy!!) But Thats how they are! And I have severe back problems too. So can you please help me??? 🙂 would be really appreciated!

  43. I’m a small girl, 130 max, I take 1/2 a 7.5 in the afternoon and the other in the evening and I’ve been doing so for several months now. how long should it take for this to flush from my system?

  44. Hi Kathy. Acute withdrawal from Lortab occurs in the first 7-10 days after cessation of dosing. However, protracted withdrawal symptoms can persist for 3-6 months later. What kinds if side effects from withdrawal are you experiencing?

  45. Yes I would like to know how long dies it take to not have withdrawal effects from lortab been off it 3 weeks mentally it’s been challenging was not taking large amounts but when on it was feeling U needed more I was taking it for back pain mostly really would like some info in this probably taking it a little over a year didn’t graduate off ut

  46. Hi Perry. Thanks for your question. From what I’ve read, it takes about 24 hours for hydrocodone to pass through the system of even chronic users for a urinalysis screen. However, high doses for long periods of time may take a few days or even (cautiously) up to a week to clear the urine.

    Does this help?

  47. for an habitual user that has been addicted for several years, how long will it take to get hydrocodone out of your system for a drug test? Taking 10-12 10/500 mg a day for a year? I know this is bad and I want to detox but I need to know if I have waited too late 🙁

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