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Hydrocortisone (By mouth)

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

Treats endocrine (gland and hormone) disorders, arthritis, lupus, skin disease, allergies, autoimmune disorders, swelling, asthma or other breathing problems. Also treats many other medical conditions. This medicine is a steroid.

Brand Name(s):

Cortef, First - Duke's Mouthwash, First - Mary's Mouthwash

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to hydrocortisone, if you are breast feeding, or if you have an infection caused by fungus.

How to Use This Medicine:

Tablet, Suspension

  • Take your medicine as directed. Your dose may need to be changed several times to find what works best for you.
  • It is best to take this medicine with food or milk. Your doctor may tell you to use an antacid between meals to protect your stomach from getting an ulcer.

If a dose is missed:

  • 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.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine:

  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

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

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using aspirin, ephedrine (Vatronol®, Primatene®), ketoconazole (Nizoral®), phenytoin (Dilantin®), or rifampin (Rifadin®, Rimactane®). Tell your doctor if you are using a diuretic or "water pill", such as hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ), furosemide, (Lasix®), insulin or diabetes medicine that you take by mouth, such as glyburide, metformin, Actos®, Diabeta®, Glucotrol®). Make sure your doctor knows if you are also taking a blood thinner, such as warfarin (Coumadin®).
  • This medicine may interfere with vaccines. Ask your doctor before you get a flu shot or any other vaccines.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant, or if you have congestive heart failure or have had a recent heart attack. Tell your doctor if you have high blood pressure, underactive thyroid, diabetes, stomach problems (such as ulcer, colitis, or diverticulitis). Tell your doctor if you have kidney disease, osteoporosis, or myasthenia gravis.
  • Tell your doctor if you have glaucoma, cataracts, or an eye infection (especially from herpes simplex).
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you have recently spent time in a tropical climate, especially if you have also had diarrhea. If you have been exposed to chickenpox or measles, tell your doctor right away.
  • You may need to change your dose of this medicine if you have a medical emergency, an infection, or need to have surgery. Tell your doctor about anything else that may affect your health, including emotional stress.
  • This medicine may slow down a child's growth. 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. After stopping this medicine, call your doctor if you have fever, tiredness, and muscle or joint pain.
  • Tell any doctor or dentist who treats you that you are using this medicine. This medicine may affect certain medical test results.

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
  • Bloody or black, tarry stools.
  • Coughing up blood, or vomit that looks like coffee grounds.
  • Dry mouth, increased thirst, muscle cramps, nausea or vomiting.
  • Gaining weight around your neck, upper back, breast, face, or waist.
  • Pain in a joint or tendon,such as your wrist, elbow, or ankle.
  • Shortness of breath, cold sweat, and bluish-colored skin.
  • Swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet.
  • Unusual bruising.
  • Unusual thoughts, feelings, or behavior.

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

  • Changes in your menstrual periods.
  • Depression, mood swings, trouble sleeping.
  • Headache, dizziness.
  • Increased appetite.
  • Increased hair growth.
  • Increased sweating.
  • Muscle pain or weakness.
  • Nausea, stomach bloating or discomfort.

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: 11/4/2014


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