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.

Pregnancy

Information about this hydrocortisone-oral-route
Pregnancy Category Explanation
All Trimesters C Animal studies have shown an adverse effect and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women OR no animal studies have been conducted and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women.

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.

  • Aceclofenac
  • Acemetacin
  • Aldesleukin
  • Amtolmetin Guacil
  • Bemiparin
  • Bromfenac
  • Bufexamac
  • Bupropion
  • Celecoxib
  • Choline Salicylate
  • Clonixin
  • Conivaptan
  • Dexibuprofen
  • Dexketoprofen
  • Diclofenac
  • Diflunisal
  • Dipyrone
  • Droxicam
  • Etodolac
  • Etofenamate
  • Etoricoxib
  • Felbinac
  • Fenoprofen
  • Fepradinol
  • Feprazone
  • Floctafenine
  • Flufenamic Acid
  • Flurbiprofen
  • Ibuprofen
  • Indomethacin
  • Ketoprofen
  • Ketorolac
  • Lornoxicam
  • Loxoprofen
  • Lumiracoxib
  • Meclofenamate
  • Mefenamic Acid
  • Meloxicam
  • Morniflumate
  • Nabumetone
  • Nadroparin
  • Naproxen
  • Nepafenac
  • Niflumic Acid
  • Nimesulide
  • Nimesulide Beta Cyclodextrin
  • Oxaprozin
  • Oxyphenbutazone
  • Parecoxib
  • Phenylbutazone
  • Piketoprofen
  • Piroxicam
  • Pixantrone
  • Pranoprofen
  • Proglumetacin
  • Propyphenazone
  • Proquazone
  • Rofecoxib
  • Salicylic Acid
  • Salsalate
  • Sodium Salicylate
  • Sulindac
  • Tenoxicam
  • Tiaprofenic Acid
  • Tolfenamic Acid
  • Tolmetin
  • Valdecoxib

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.

  • Alcuronium
  • Atracurium
  • Balofloxacin
  • Besifloxacin
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Colestipol
  • Enoxacin
  • Fleroxacin
  • Flumequine
  • Gallamine
  • Gatifloxacin
  • Gemifloxacin
  • Hexafluorenium
  • Levofloxacin
  • Licorice
  • Lomefloxacin
  • Metocurine
  • Moxifloxacin
  • Nadifloxacin
  • Norfloxacin
  • Ofloxacin
  • Pazufloxacin
  • Pefloxacin
  • Primidone
  • Prulifloxacin
  • Rifapentine
  • Rufloxacin
  • Saiboku-To
  • Sparfloxacin
  • Tosufloxacin

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 (eg, herpes infection of the eyes) or
  • Glaucoma or
  • Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) or
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure) or
  • Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) or
  • Infection (eg, bacterial, virus, or fungus) or
  • Liver disease (including cirrhosis) 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
  • Pheochromocytoma (adrenal tumor) or
  • Stomach or intestinal problems (eg, diverticulitis, ulcerative colitis) or
  • Tuberculosis, inactive or
  • Weak immune system (eg, Kaposi sarcoma)—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
  • Fungal infections—Should not be used in patients with these conditions.

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

Incidence not known

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