A Tale of Marriage, Medicine and Murder

What does 'Lortab' mean?

Find out what Lortab means. Lortab is explained by Margaret McMillion - author of PERSONAL BAGGAGE


Lortab combines Tylenol (acetaminophen) and hydrocodone, a narcotic painkiller, and is prescribed for moderate to severe pain. The drug is classified as a controlled substance and must be kept locked up and signed out to a specific patient by a nurse. If not used, wasting it must be witnessed and signed off by two nurses, because it is popular with addicts, who may try to steal it or to persuade doctors to prescribe it for them, or to buy it illegally. It comes in liquid and tablet form and is contraindicated in patients with a history of drug abuse, liver disease, or alcoholism. Lortab should not be taken with Tylenol because of the possibility of acetaminophen toxicity.

Lortab side effects include headache, dry mouth, blurred vision, constipation, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, decreased respiration and heart rate and, after long term use, if the drug is abruptly stopped the patient may experience withdrawal symptoms. Patients must be warned to avoid driving, operating equipment, or drinking alcohol while taking the drug.

In PERSONAL BAGGAGE on page 146, nurse Penny calls a fellow nurse to witness as she wastes a Lortab tablet, which a confused patient has refused to swallow.

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Chapter 15: Chapter Fifteen
"...“Let me get her vital signs,” Penny said. “I’ll check to see what the doctor ordered and then we’ll know what she needs.” At the med cart, Penny discovered that one of Mrs. Posey’s scheduled medications was a time-release narcotic pill not due until 11 p.m. Lortab was ordered for break-through pain and since it was only 7:30, she unlocked a Lortab from the narcotic cabinet and returned to her patient’s room with the tablet and a cup of water. ..."
"...Penny clicked on the over-bed examination light: there was no redness. Palpating the scalp, she felt a slight ridge which was probably part of the woman’s skull. “I think it’ll be all right,” Penny said, cranking up the bed to a sitting position. She offered the Lortab and Coke, but Mrs. Posey lashed out, sending the plastic cup sailing across the room. Penny located the tablet under the bed. “Can you wipe up that Coke?” she asked the sitter, curious to see if she would do anything. ..."
"... time for the next dose. When Penny returned with a fresh, crushed Lortab, the sitter had wiped the floor. Penny mixed the Lortab powder in jelly, spooned it into Mrs. Posey’s mouth, and she held it for a full minute before spewing it onto her gown and bed. “Spell that medicine for ..."
"... going to start this blood.” Penny called Barb to witness as she wasted the dirty Lortab, then Barb accompanied her to Miss Logan’s bed where they compared tags on the blood bag with the patient’s identification bracelet and signed their names to the forms. Dragging the computer-on-wheels ..."

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"PERSONAL BAGGAGE puts the reader front and center in the busy and stressful life of a hospital nurse. I..."

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