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Hydrocortisone enema (Rectal)

Hydrocortisone (hye-droe-KOR-ti-sone)

Treats ulcerative colitis. This medicine is a corticosteroid.

Brand Name(s):

Colocort, Cortenema

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

This medicine is not right for everyone. Do not use it if you had an allergic reaction to hydrocortisone, or if you have a fungus infection.

How to Use This Medicine:


  • Take your medicine as directed. Your dose may need to be changed several times to find what works best for you.
  • Read and follow the patient instructions that come with this medicine. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water before and after using this medicine.
  • Shake the bottle well before use.
  • Remove the cover from the applicator tip of the bottle.
  • Lie on your left side with your left leg straight or slightly bent, and your right knee bent upward. Insert the applicator tip into your rectum about an inch. Gently squeeze the bottom of the bottle to release the enema.
  • Remain lying down for at least 30 minutes. You may need to hold the liquid in your rectum for several minutes or hours. This may be difficult or feel uncomfortable. It should become easier to do as you continue to use the medicine.
  • After using the medicine, remove the applicator tip from the rectum and throw the bottle away.
  • Missed dose:Take a dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then and take a regular dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Some medicines and foods can affect how hydrocortisone works. Tell you doctor if you are also using an NSAID, including aspirin, diclofenac, ibuprofen, naproxen, or celecoxib.
  • This medicine may interfere with vaccines. Ask your doctor before you get a flu shot or any other vaccines.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease, cirrhosis, osteoporosis, thyroid problems, or myasthenia gravis. Tell your doctor if you have digestive problems, including ulcer or diverticulitis.
  • This medicine may cause the following problems:
    • Cataracts or glaucoma
    • High blood pressure
    • Increased risk for osteoporosis
    • Adrenal gland problems
  • This medicine may cause you to get infections more easily. Tell your doctor if you have any type of infection before you start treatment. Avoid people who are sick or have infections. If you are exposed to chickenpox or measles, tell your doctor right away.
  • This medicine may delay growth in children. If you think your child is not growing properly while using this medicine, talk with your doctor.
  • Do not stop using this medicine suddenly. Your doctor will need to slowly decrease your dose before you stop it completely.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Dark freckles, skin color changes, coldness, weakness, tiredness, nausea, vomiting, weight loss
  • Depression, mood swings, trouble sleeping, usual thoughts, feelings, or behavior
  • Dry mouth, increased thirst, muscle cramps, nausea or vomiting, uneven heartbeat
  • Rapid weight gain, swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet
  • Severe rectal pain or bleeding

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Rectal irritation or burning

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

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

Last Updated: 11/18/2015

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