hydrocortisone (by mouth)

By Pharmacia and Upjohn

What is this medication for?

Hydrocortisone belongs to the family of medications known as corticosteroids. It works by reducing swelling, inflammation, and irritation.

Hydrocortisone is used to treat several different conditions. It is more commonly used to treat allergic reactions, some skin conditions, severe asthma, and arthritis. It can also be used to replace steroid deficiency in the body, to treat certain blood disorders, to treat certain types of cancer, and to treat ulcerative colitis.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here. If you are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

Cortef® is available as:

  • tablets
    • 5 mg
    • 10 mg
    • 20 mg
Some medications may have other generic brands available. Always ask your doctor or pharmacist about the safety of switching between brands of the same medication.

How should I use this medication?

The dose varies greatly according to the condition being treated. The dose can also vary based on the individual circumstances of each person. This medication should be taken with food to reduce the chance of an upset stomach.

If you also need to take an antacid to help to prevent stomach ulcers and stomach upset, the best time to take it is between meals.

Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.

It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.

Who should NOT take this medication?

Do not use this medication if you:

  • are allergic to hydrocortisone or any of the ingredients of the medication
  • have a severe fungal infection

Anyone currently taking this medication should not receive a live virus vaccine.

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The contents of this health site are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition.

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