hydrocortisone oral, Hydrocortone, Cortef

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GENERIC NAME: hydrocortisone, oral

BRAND NAMES: Cortef, Hydrocortone (Discontinued)

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Hydrocortisone is a naturally-occurring corticosteroid produced by the adrenal glands. Corticosteroids have potent anti-inflammatory properties and are used in a wide variety of inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, colitis, asthma, bronchitis, certain skin rashes, and allergic or inflammatory conditions of the nose and eyes.

There are numerous preparations of corticosteroids including oral tablets, capsules, liquids, topical creams and gels, inhalers and eye drops, and injectable and intravenous solutions. Hydrocortisone that is prescribed in oral, tablet and liquid forms is addressed in this article.

Dosage requirements of corticosteroids vary among individuals and the diseases being treated. In general, the lowest possible effective dose is used. Corticosteroids given in multiple doses throughout the day are more effective but also more toxic than if the same total dose is given once daily or every other day. The FDA approved hydrocortisone in December 1952.



PREPARATIONS: Tablets: 5, 10 and 20 mg; Oral Suspension: 10 mg/5 ml.

STORAGE: Hydrocortisone should be stored at room temperature at 20-25 C (68-77 F) in a sealed container.

PRESCRIBED FOR: Hydrocortisone is used to achieve prompt suppression of inflammation in many inflammatory and allergic conditions. Examples of such inflammatory conditions include rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus, acute gouty arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn's disease.

Severe allergic conditions that fail conventional treatment also may respond to hydrocortisone. Examples include bronchial asthma, allergic rhinitis, drug-induced dermatitis, and contact and atopic dermatitis.

Chronic skin conditions treated with hydrocortisone include dermatitis herpetiformis, pemphigus, severe psoriasis and severe seborrheic dermatitis.

Chronic allergic and inflammatory conditions of the uvea, iris, conjunctiva and optic nerves of the eyes also are treated with hydrocortisone.

Hydrocortisone also is used in the treatment of blood cell cancers (leukemias), and lymph gland cancers (lymphomas).

Blood diseases involving destruction of platelets by the body's own immune cells (idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura) and destruction of red blood cells by immune cells (autoimmune hemolytic anemia) also can be treated with hydrocortisone.

Other miscellaneous conditions treated with hydrocortisone include thyroiditis and sarcoidosis.

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