hydrocortisone injection (Solu-Cortef, A-Hydrocort)

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

GENERIC NAME: hydrocortisone injection

BRAND NAME: Solu-Cortef, A-Hydrocort

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Hydrocortisone is a corticosteroid (steroid medicine) that is used to treat inflammation due to a number of diseases and conditions. The medicine in hydrocortisone is similar to cortisol, a natural hormone produced by our adrenal glands. Corticosteroids have potent anti-inflammatory actions and also suppress the immune response. The FDA approved hydrocortisone injection in April, 1955.

PRESCRIBED FOR: Hydrocortisone injection is used to treat a variety of conditions that cause inflammation. Examples include

It also is used for treating primary or secondary adrenocortical insufficiency


  • Hydrocortisone injection should not be used by patients who are allergic to hydrocortisone or other steroid medicines.
  • Hydrocortisone injection may suppress or weaken the immune system, reducing the ability to fight an infection.
  • Serious neurologic events, some resulting in death, have been reported with epidural injection of corticosteroids.
  • Hydrocortisone injection contains benzyl alcohol which is harmful when administered locally to neural tissue. Exposure to excessive amounts of benzyl alcohol has been associated with serious side effects, particularly in neonates and small preterm infants.
  • Corticosteroids may cause increased blood pressure, salt and water retention, and increased excretion of potassium.
  • Injecting corticosteroids may lead to atrophy of the skin at the injection site.
  • Prolonged use of hydrocortisone can depress the ability of the body's adrenal glands to produce corticosteroids. Abruptly stopping hydrocortisone may cause symptoms of corticosteroid insufficiency.
  • Corticosteroids suppress the immune system and increase the risk of infections.

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