Last updated: May 22, 2023
As with other narcotic pain medications, Loratab is a popular drug on the black market. With the expanded awareness of the opiate epidemic raging out of control within the United States, more companies are testing for synthetic opiates.
How long does this one remain in the system?
Loratab is a pharmaceutical drug that contains both hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Physicians prescribe it to relieve moderate to severe pain. And, this combination pain reliever can be habit-forming, even if taken as prescribed. This leaves the patient in a bad way when the prescription runs out and there aren’t any refills.
They often turn to the black market, however, the pills are expensive and many wind up using heroin to feed a growing addiction.
Feeling the effects
Users experience a heightened sense of being calm and relaxed. The euphoric feeling associated with the hydrocodone begins to take effect about 30 to 60 minutes after taking the pill. Some crush the pills for snorting and begin to experience the “high” in minutes.
Users also crush the pills to mix with water and, then, inject it into the bloodstream.
The effects of the drug last between four and six hours, but drug tests detect them much longer.
The most common methods used for employee drug testing are urine, oral fluids, and hair follicle tests. They offer different identification periods, but all undergo the same type of test at the laboratory.
- The immunoassay test is an initial screen that yields a positive or negative result.
- The gas chromatography/mass spectrometry test confirms the initial screen
Unless mandated by the federal government, such as the DOT, for instance, employers are free to use any method they choose.
Blood testing can accurately identify current impairment. It detects parent drugs rather than drug metabolites. Employers sometimes specify its use for post-accident situations. Knowing whether or not someone was impaired by drug use is very useful information for investigators. However, this test is extremely intrusive and costs far more than other test methods. Employers rarely use it for routine drug testing scenarios.
Urine drug test
The urine drug test is currently the only approved method for a DOT drug test. However, that may not always be the case. The HHS (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) released guidelines for the approved use of the oral fluid test as an alternative method for all federally mandated drug testing at the end of October. They go into effect on January 1st, however, the DOT hasn’t released any information they will be incorporating the test into their policies.
It could happen though. We’ll keep you posted.
This is the most cost-effective choice and there’s even a comfort level attached to them after all this time. Even though the nature of the test itself is unpleasant, employees expect to “pee in a cup” if they know there’s a drug test in their future.
The urine test detects the hydrocodone in Loratab for up to three days after it was last used.
Employers who use the urine drug test receive results in less than a week.
Oral fluids test
The oral fluids test, also called the mouth swab test, is gaining in popularity thanks to technological advances in the industry. And, of course, it may grow more popular now in light of the HHS announcement—time will tell.
Employers often use this test for random drug testing situations. It’s also being more widely used by law enforcement agencies when they suspect drug impairment during a traffic stop or post-accident situation.
The test doesn’t require privacy and, therefore, it’s impossible to tamper with the specimen. The lab technician places a mouth swab between the lower cheek and gum and it remains until saturated with saliva. The test usually takes about five minutes or so to administer.
They detect Lortab about 30 to 60 minutes after ingesting the tab. Of course, if the pill was crushed for snorting or injecting, it enters the bloodstream in minutes and is detected in saliva soon after. Oral fluid tests identify hydrocodone for up to three days.
Results return in just a couple of days.
Hair follicle drug test
The DOT may not have decided to approve the mouth swab test yet, but the hair follicle test is another story. The request to replace the urine test with the hair follicle drug test is cycling through the chain-of-command. It’s hoped that the request will go into effect soon.
The trucking industry stands behind the DOTs decision to switch. In fact, some employers in the industry already use the hair follicle test in addition to the DOT drug test. They incur the expense of administering a second drug test mainly because the hair follicle drug test offers a ninety day detection period for any and all drug use.
That’s pretty amazing.
Drug metabolites actually grow out into the hair shaft leaving a permanent record of drug use. Manufacturers claims that their shampoo will “detoxify” the hair—code for stripping out the metabolites—are untrue.
They’ve become part of the hair itself.
Results for this test return in about a week.
The detection period
The amount of time that Loratab is detected in the system varies from drug test to drug test. However, there are other factors that determine the length of time the drug can be identified.
- Dosage amount and frequency of use
- Body mass
- Overall health
Nothing to mess around with
Other medications interact with both hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Medications mixing with hydrocodone can affect breathing or cause the user to slip into a coma. Acetaminophens are commonly used in many products, often without someone being aware of it. If one unknowingly ingests over 4,ooo ml in one day, irreversible liver damage can occur—even death.
Also, mixing alcohol with this drug puts the user at risk of life-threatening reactions.
Overdose symptoms include:
- Difficulty breathing or slowed or stopped breathing
- Excessive sleepiness
- Muscle and intestinal tract spasms
- Dizziness and fainting
- Liver failure
- Narrowing or widening of the pupils
- Cold, clammy skin
- Seizures or loss of consciousness
The DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) changed the classification of hydrocodone from a Schedule 3 to a Schedule 2 drug in 2014 even though most pharmacy groups opposed it. It’s due to the fact that it’s highly addictive.
The theory behind drug testing
Employers who drug test want to create the safest work environment possible for their employees. Testing for Loratab and other drugs is one way they make that happen.
Employees impaired by drug use aren’t in control of their motor and thinking skills. Drugs in the workplace put everyone at risk.