Description and Brand Names

Drug information provided by: Micromedex

US Brand Name

  1. Cortef

Descriptions


Hydrocortisone provides relief for inflamed areas of the body. It is used to treat a number of different conditions, such as inflammation (swelling), severe allergies, adrenal problems, arthritis, asthma, blood or bone marrow problems, eye or vision problems, lupus, skin conditions, ulcerative colitis, and flare-ups of multiple sclerosis. Hydrocortisone is a corticosteroid (cortisone-like medicine or steroid). It works on the immune system to help relieve swelling, redness, itching, and allergic reactions.

This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription.

This product is available in the following dosage forms:

  • Tablet
  • Suspension

Before Using

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:

Allergies

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.

Pediatric

No information is available on the relationship of age to the effects of hydrocortisone in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established.

Geriatric

No information is available on the relationship of age to the effects of hydrocortisone in geriatric patients.

Breastfeeding

There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.

Drug Interactions

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking this medicine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.

  • Rotavirus Vaccine, Live

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Aldesleukin
  • Bupropion
  • Itraconazole
  • Piperaquine
  • Pixantrone
  • Topotecan

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Alatrofloxacin
  • Alcuronium
  • Atracurium
  • Balofloxacin
  • Cinoxacin
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Clinafloxacin
  • Colestipol
  • Enoxacin
  • Fleroxacin
  • Flumequine
  • Gallamine
  • Gemifloxacin
  • Grepafloxacin
  • Hexafluorenium
  • Levofloxacin
  • Licorice
  • Lomefloxacin
  • Metocurine
  • Moxifloxacin
  • Norfloxacin
  • Ofloxacin
  • Pefloxacin
  • Primidone
  • Prulifloxacin
  • Rifapentine
  • Rosoxacin
  • Rufloxacin
  • Saiboku-To
  • Sparfloxacin
  • Temafloxacin
  • Tosufloxacin
  • Trovafloxacin Mesylate

Other Interactions

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Other Medical Problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Cataracts or
  • Congestive heart failure or
  • Cushing's syndrome (adrenal gland problem) or
  • Diabetes or
  • Eye infection or
  • Glaucoma or
  • Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) or
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure) or
  • Infection (e.g., bacterial, virus, or fungus) or
  • Mood changes, including depression or
  • Myasthenia gravis (severe muscle weakness) or
  • Osteoporosis (weak bones) or
  • Peptic ulcer, active or history of or
  • Personality changes or
  • Stomach or intestinal problems (e.g., diverticulitis, ulcerative colitis) or
  • Tuberculosis, inactive—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
  • Fungal infections—Should not be used in patients with this condition.

Proper Use

Take this medicine exactly as directed by your doctor. Do not take more of it, do not take it more often, and do not take it for a longer time than your doctor ordered. To do so may increase the chance for unwanted effects.

If you use this medicine for a long time, do not suddenly stop using it without checking first with your doctor. You may need to slowly decrease your dose before stopping it completely.

Dosing

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For oral dosage form (tablets):
    • Dose depends on medical condition:
      • Adults—At first, 20 to 240 milligrams (mg) per day. Your doctor may adjust your dose as needed.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.

Storage

Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.

Keep out of the reach of children.

Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.

Precautions

If you will be taking this medicine for a long time, it is very important that your doctor check you at regular visits for any unwanted effects that may be caused by this medicine. Blood or urine tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.

Using too much of this medicine or using it for a long time may increase your risk of having adrenal gland problems. Talk to your doctor right away if you have more than one of these symptoms while you are using this medicine: blurred vision; dizziness or fainting; a fast, irregular, or pounding heartbeat; increased thirst or urination; irritability; or unusual tiredness or weakness.

If you are using this medicine for a long time, tell your doctor about any extra stress or anxiety in your life, including other health concerns and emotional stress. Your dose of this medicine might need to be changed for a short time while you have extra stress.

This medicine may cause you to get more infections than usual. Avoid people who are sick or have infections and wash your hands often. If you are exposed to chickenpox or measles, tell your doctor right away. If you start to have a fever, chills, sore throat, or any other sign of an infection, call your doctor right away.

Check with your doctor right away if blurred vision, difficulty in reading, eye pain, or any other change in vision occurs during or after treatment. Your doctor may want you to have your eyes checked by an ophthalmologist (eye doctor).

While you are being treated with hydrocortisone, do not have any immunizations (vaccines) without your doctor's approval. Hydrocortisone may lower your body's resistance and the vaccine may not work as well or you might get the infection the vaccine is meant to prevent. In addition, you should not be around other persons living in your household who receive live virus vaccines because there is a chance they could pass the virus on to you. Some examples of live vaccines include measles, mumps, influenza (nasal flu vaccine), poliovirus (oral form), rotavirus, and rubella. Do not get close to them and do not stay in the same room with them for very long. If you have questions about this, talk to your doctor.

This medicine may cause changes in mood or behavior for some patients. Tell your doctor right away if you have depression; mood swings; a false or unusual sense of well-being; trouble with sleeping; or personality changes while taking this medicine.

This medicine might cause thinning of the bones (osteoporosis) or slow growth in children if used for a long time. Tell your doctor if you have any bone pain or if you have an increased risk for osteoporosis. If your child is using this medicine, tell the doctor if you think your child is not growing properly.

Make sure any doctor or dentist who treats you knows that you are using this medicine. This medicine may affect the results of certain skin tests.

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.

Side Effects

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

More common

  1. Aggression
  2. agitation
  3. anxiety
  4. blurred vision
  5. decrease in the amount of urine
  6. dizziness
  7. fast, slow, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
  8. headache
  9. irritability
  10. mental depression
  11. mood changes
  12. nervousness
  13. noisy, rattling breathing
  14. numbness or tingling in the arms or legs
  15. pounding in the ears
  16. shortness of breath
  17. swelling of the fingers, hands, feet, or lower legs
  18. trouble thinking, speaking, or walking
  19. troubled breathing at rest
  20. weight gain

Incidence not known

  1. Abdominal cramping and/or burning (severe)
  2. abdominal pain
  3. backache
  4. bloody, black, or tarry stools
  5. cough or hoarseness
  6. darkening of skin
  7. decrease in height
  8. decreased vision
  9. diarrhea
  10. dry mouth
  11. eye pain
  12. eye tearing
  13. facial hair growth in females
  14. fainting
  15. fatigue
  16. fever or chills
  17. flushed, dry skin
  18. fractures
  19. fruit-like breath odor
  20. full or round face, neck, or trunk
  21. heartburn and/or indigestion (severe and continuous)
  22. increased hunger
  23. increased thirst
  24. increased urination
  25. loss of appetite
  26. loss of sexual desire or ability
  27. lower back or side pain
  28. menstrual irregularities
  29. muscle pain or tenderness
  30. muscle wasting or weakness
  31. nausea
  32. pain in back, ribs, arms, or legs
  33. painful or difficult urination
  34. skin rash
  35. sleeplessness
  36. sweating
  37. trouble healing
  38. trouble sleeping
  39. unexplained weight loss
  40. unusual tiredness or weakness
  41. vision changes
  42. vomiting
  43. vomiting of material that looks like coffee grounds

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common

  1. Increased appetite

Incidence not known

  1. Abnormal fat deposits on the face, neck, and trunk
  2. acne
  3. dry scalp
  4. lightening of normal skin color
  5. red face
  6. reddish purple lines on the arms, face, legs, trunk, or groin
  7. swelling of the stomach area
  8. thinning of the scalp hair

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.