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Drug Class: Commonly Known As: Category:
Corticosteroid Adult

Hydrocortisone - What is it for

​​Corticosteroids are anti-inflammatory agents that help with the reduction of swelling, redness, itchiness and allergic reactions. They are used for different conditions e.g. infections, severe allergies, skin problems, asthma, arthritis and autoimmune diseases.

Hydrocortisone - Side Effects, Precautions, and Contraindications

What side effects can Hydrocortisone cause?

Generally, the common side effects tend to occur at the beginning of the treatment. These side effects may include:

  • Upset stomach, nausea or vomiting
  • Unable to sleep or restlessness
  • Fluid retention, weight gain
  • Muscle weakness or cramps (with long term use)

Inform the doctor if any of the above side effects lasts for more than a few days or if they become serious or bothersome.

Rare but serious effects may sometimes occur. Contact the doctor as soon as possible if any of the following are noticed:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction e.g. severe skin rash, itchy or peeling skin, swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat or difficulty breathing
  • Signs of infection e.g. fever, chills, sore throat, mouth sores or wound that will not heal
  • Signs of high blood sugar e.g. confusion, lethargic, more thirsty, more hungry, passing urine more often, flushing or fast breathing
  • Severe abdominal pains
  • Swelling, warmth, numbness, change of color, or pain in a leg or arm
  • Change in eyesight/vision
  • Mood changes e.g. depression, fluctuating feelings or anxiety
  • Abnormal bruising or bleeding (including black, tarry, or bloody stools or vomiting)

Inform ​your doctor if any other unusual symptoms are noticed.

Before taking Hydrocortisone, what precautions must I follow?

What food or medicine must I avoid when I take Hydrocortisone?

Hydrocortisone - Dosage and How to Use

How should Hydrocortisone be used?

  • Your doctor will decide on the dose and frequency and prescribe the safest and most effective dose for you. Follow the instructions on the label carefully and ask your pharmacist or doctor if you are unsure.
  • You need to take it as directed to get the maximum benefit. Do not take more than the prescribed dose or more often than directed as this may increase the risk of experiencing side effects.
  • Do not stop this medication unless instructed by the doctor as there may be a need to gradually reduce the dose taken before stopping completely.
  • Take this medication with or after food to prevent stomach upset.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

​​If you forget a dose, take it as soon as you remember and then continue to take it as you normally would. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and take the next dose at the usual time. Do not double or increase the dose to make up for the missed dose.

What should I do if I overdose?

Hydrocortisone - Handling and Storage

How should I handle Hydrocortisone safely?

How should I store Hydrocortisone?

Keep away from children;#Keep in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight;#

How should I dispose of Hydrocortisone safely?

Hydrocortisone - Additional Information

Please inform your doctor about your medical history before taking any corticosteroids.

  • If you are trying to get pregnant, pregnant or breastfeeding
  • If you have epilepsy
  • If you or anyone in your family have diabetes, high blood pressure or glaucoma
  • If you are suffering from kidney, liver or heart problems
  • If you have osteoporosis (brittle/weak bones)
  • If you have migraines
  • If you have or ever had stomach ulcers
  • If you have a history of a bad reaction to any steroid, such as muscle weakness or mood changes

You may get infections more easily while being treated with this medicine. Avoid crowded places or being near people who are sick. Avoid close contact with people who have chicken pox, shingles or measles. Contact your doctor if you develop fever, sore throat or other signs of infection.

Check with the doctor or pharmacist if you are on any other medication, supplements or herbal products. You should also inform your doctor if you are receiving any vaccinations.​

Updated on Wednesday, March 31, 2021

This article is contributed by PSS National Medication Information Workgroup PSS National Medication Information Workgroup

    The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth


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