2011501932 Health Library | Health and Wellness | Wellmont Health System
  • Hydrocortisone Oral

    (hye droe kor' ti sone)

    WHY is this medicine prescribed?

    Hydrocortisone, a corticosteroid, is similar to a natural hormone produced by your adrenal glands. It is often used to replace this chemical when your body does not make enough of it. It relieves inflammation (swelling, heat, redness, and pain) and is used to treat certain forms of arthritis; skin, blood, kidney, eye, thyroid, and intestinal disorders (e.g., colitis); severe allergies; and asthma. Hydrocortisone is also used to treat certain types of cancer.
    This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

    HOW should this medicine be used?

    Hydrocortisone comes as a tablet and suspension to be taken by mouth. Your doctor will prescribe a dosing schedule that is best for you. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take hydrocortisone exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
    Do not stop taking hydrocortisone without talking to your doctor. Stopping the drug abruptly can cause loss of appetite, an upset stomach, vomiting, drowsiness, confusion, headache, fever, joint and muscle pain, peeling skin, and weight loss. If you take large doses for a long time, your doctor probably will decrease your dose gradually to allow your body to adjust before stopping the drug completely. Watch for these side effects if you are gradually decreasing your dose and after you stop taking the tablets or oral liquid, even if you switch to an inhalation. If these problems occur, call your doctor immediately. You may need to increase your dose of oral hydrocortisone temporarily or start taking it again.

    What SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS should I follow?

    Before taking hydrocortisone,
    • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to hydrocortisone, aspirin, tartrazine (a yellow dye in some processed foods and drugs), or any other drugs.
    • tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially anticoagulants ('blood thinners') such as warfarin (Coumadin), arthritis medication, aspirin, cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), digoxin (Lanoxin), diuretics ('water pills'), estrogen (Premarin), ketoconazole (Nizoral), oral contraceptives, phenobarbital, phenytoin (Dilantin), rifampin (Rifadin), theophylline (Theo-Dur), and vitamins.
    • if you have a fungal infection (other than on your skin), do not take hydrocortisone without talking to your doctor.
    • tell your doctor if you have or have ever had liver, kidney, intestinal, or heart disease; diabetes; an underactive thyroid gland; high blood pressure; mental illness; myasthenia gravis; osteoporosis; herpes eye infection; seizures; tuberculosis (TB); or ulcers.
    • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking hydrocortisone, call your doctor.
    • if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking hydrocortisone.
    • if you have a history of ulcers or take large doses of aspirin or other arthritis medication, limit your consumption of alcoholic beverages while taking this drug. Hydrocortisone makes your stomach and intestines more susceptible to the irritating effects of alcohol, aspirin, and certain arthritis medications. This effect increases your risk of ulcers.

    What SPECIAL DIETARY instructions should I follow?

    Your doctor may instruct you to follow a low-sodium, low-salt, potassium-rich, or high-protein diet. Follow these directions.
    Hydrocortisone may cause an upset stomach. Take hydrocortisone with food or milk.

    What should I do IF I FORGET to take a dose?

    When you start to take hydrocortisone, ask your doctor what to do if you forget a dose. Write down these instructions so that you can refer to them later.
    If you take hydrocortisone once a day, take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. If you do not remember a missed dose until it is time for the next dose, skip the missed dose completely and take only the regularly scheduled dose.
    If you take more than one dose a day, take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

    What SIDE EFFECTS can this medicine cause?

    Hydrocortisone may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
    • upset stomach
    • stomach irritation
    • vomiting
    • headache
    • dizziness
    • insomnia
    • restlessness
    • depression
    • anxiety
    • acne
    • increased hair growth
    • easy bruising
    • irregular or absent menstrual periods
    If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
    • skin rash
    • swollen face, lower legs, or ankles
    • vision problems
    • cold or infection that lasts a long time
    • muscle weakness
    • black or tarry stool
    If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch ] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].

    What should I know about STORAGE and DISPOSAL of this medication?

    Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.

    What should I do in case of OVERDOSE?

    In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.

    What OTHER INFORMATION should I know?

    Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your response to hydrocortisone. Checkups are especially important for children because hydrocortisone can slow bone growth.
    If your condition worsens, call your doctor. Your dose may need to be adjusted.
    Carry an identification card that indicates that you may need to take supplementary doses (write down the full dose you took before gradually decreasing it) of hydrocortisone during periods of stress (injuries, infections, and severe asthma attacks). Ask your pharmacist or doctor how to obtain this card. List your name, medical problems, drugs and dosages, and doctor's name and telephone number on the card.
    This drug makes you more susceptible to illnesses. If you are exposed to chicken pox, measles, or tuberculosis (TB) while using hydrocortisone, call your doctor. Do not have a vaccination, other immunization, or any skin test while you are taking hydrocortisone unless your doctor tells you that you may.
    Report any injuries or signs of infection (fever, sore throat, pain during urination, and muscle aches) that occur during treatment.
    Your doctor may instruct you to weigh yourself every day. Report any unusual weight gain.
    If your sputum (the matter you cough up during an asthma attack) thickens or changes color from clear white to yellow, green, or gray, call your doctor; these changes may be signs of an infection.
    If you have diabetes, hydrocortisone may increase your blood sugar level. If you monitor your blood sugar (glucose) at home, test your blood or urine more frequently than usual. Call your doctor if your blood sugar is high or if sugar is present in your urine; your dose of diabetes medication and your diet may need to be changed.
    Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
    It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.

    Brand Names

    • Cortef®
    • Hydrocortone®

    Other Names

    • Cortisol

    Neomycin Topical

    (nee oh mye' sin)

    WHY is this medicine prescribed?

    Neomycin, an antibiotic, is used to prevent or treat skin infections caused by bacteria. It is not effective against fungal or viral infections.
    This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

    HOW should this medicine be used?

    Neomycin comes in cream and ointment that is applied to the skin. Neomycin usually is used one to three times a day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Use neomycin exactly as directed. Do not use more or less of it or use it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
    Thoroughly clean the infected area, allow it to dry, and then gently rub the medication in until most of it disappears. Use just enough medication to cover the affected area. You should wash your hands after applying the medication.
    Do not apply neomycin to a child's diaper area, especially if the skin is raw, unless directed to do so by a doctor. If you are directed to apply neomycin to a child's diaper area, do not use tightly fitting diapers or plastic pants. They can increase the absorption of the drug, which can cause harmful effects.
    Apply only small amounts of neomycin to scrapes, cuts, burns, sores, and wounds, and do not apply it more frequently than directed. Neomycin can be absorbed into the body through broken skin and cause kidney problems and hearing difficulty.

    What SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS should I follow?

    Before using neomycin,
    • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to neomycin or any other drugs.
    • tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, including vitamins.
    • tell your doctor if you have or have ever had kidney disease.
    • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while using neomycin, call your doctor.

    What should I do IF I FORGET to take a dose?

    Apply the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not apply a double dose to make up for a missed one.

    What SIDE EFFECTS can this medicine cause?

    Neomycin may cause side effects. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
    • irritation
    • burning
    • redness
    • rash
    • itching
    • hearing difficulty
    • decreased urination
    If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch ] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].

    What should I know about STORAGE and DISPOSAL of this medication?

    Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Neomycin may become discolored, but this change does not affect its action. Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.

    What OTHER INFORMATION should I know?

    Keep all appointments with your doctor. Neomycin is for external use only. Do not let neomycin get into your eyes, nose, or mouth, and do not swallow it. Do not apply dressings, bandages, cosmetics, lotions, or other skin medications to the area being treated unless your doctor tells you.
    Do not let anyone else use your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
    If you still have symptoms of infection after you finish the neomycin, call your doctor.
    It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.

    Brand Names

    • Myciguent®
    • Neo-Cortef® (as a combination product containing Hydrocortisone, Neomycin)
    • Neo-Decadron® (as a combination product containing Dexamethasone, Neomycin)
    • Neo-Medrol® (as a combination product containing Methylprednisolone, Neomycin)
    • Also available generically

    Hydrocortisone Topical

    (hye droe kor' ti sone)

    WHY is this medicine prescribed?

    Hydrocortisone is available with or without a prescription. Low-strength preparations (0.5% or 1%) are used without a prescription for the temporary relief of (1) minor skin irritations, itching, and rashes caused by eczema, insect bites, poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac, soaps, detergents, cosmetics, and jewelry; (2) itchy anal and rectal areas; and (3) itching and irritation of the scalp. It is also used to relieve the discomfort of mouth sores.
    Hydrocortisone may be prescribed by your doctor to relieve the itching, redness, dryness, crusting, scaling, inflammation, and discomfort of various skin conditions; the inflammation of ulcerative colitis or proctitis; or the swelling and discomfort of hemorrhoids and other rectal problems.
    This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

    HOW should this medicine be used?

    Hydrocortisone comes as ointment, cream, lotion, liquid, gel, medicated cloth towelette, and spray for use on the skin; foam, suppositories, cream, ointment, and enema for rectal use; and paste for use in the mouth.
    Hydrocortisone is usually used one to four times a day for skin problems.
    For mouth sores, it usually is applied two or three times a day after meals and at bedtime. If mouth sores do not begin to heal within 7 days, call your doctor.
    For colitis, hydrocortisone usually is used every night or twice a day (every morning and night) for 2 or 3 weeks. Although colitis symptoms may improve within 3 to 5 days, 2 to 3 months of regular enema use may be required. Call your doctor if your colitis symptoms do not improve within 3 weeks.
    For proctitis, hydrocortisone usually is used one or two times a day for 2 to 3 weeks, then if necessary every other day until your condition improves. Proctitis symptoms may improve within 5 to 7 days.
    For hemorrhoids, hydrocortisone usually is used twice a day (every morning and night) for 2 to 6 days.
    Follow the directions on the label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part that you do not understand. Use hydrocortisone exactly as directed. Do not use more or less of it or use it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
    If you obtained hydrocortisone without a prescription and your condition does not improve within 7 days, stop using it and call your doctor.
    Call your doctor if any area treated with hydrocortisone gets worse or if redness, swelling, or oozing of pus develops.
    To use hydrocortisone ointment, cream, lotion, liquid, or gel on your skin, wash or soak the affected area thoroughly before applying the medication, unless it irritates your skin. Then apply sparingly in a thin film and rub it in gently.
    To use the lotion, liquid, or gel on your scalp, part your hair, apply a small amount of the medicine on the affected area, and rub it in gently. Protect the area from washing and rubbing until the medication dries. You may wash your hair as usual but not right after applying the medicine.
    To apply the aerosol spray, shake well and spray on the affected area holding the container about 3 to 6 inches (7.5 to 15 centimeters) away. Spray for about 2 seconds to cover an area the size of your hand. Take care not to inhale the vapors. If you are spraying near your face, cover your eyes.
    Avoid prolonged use on the face, in the genital and rectal areas, and in skin creases and armpits unless directed to do so by your doctor.
    If you are using hydrocortisone on your face, keep it out of your eyes.
    If you are using hydrocortisone on a child's diaper area, do not use tight-fitting diapers or plastic pants. Such use may increase side effects.
    Do not apply cosmetics or other skin preparations on the treated area without talking to your doctor.
    If your doctor tells you to wrap or bandage the treated area, follow these instructions:
    1. Soak the area in water or wash it well.
    2. While the skin is moist, gently rub the medication into the affected areas.
    3. Cover the area with plastic wrap (such as Saran Wrap or Handi-Wrap). The plastic may be held in place with a gauze or elastic bandage or adhesive tape on the normal skin beside the treated area. (Instead of using plastic wrap, plastic gloves may be used for the hands, plastic bags for the feet, or a shower cap for the scalp.)
    4. Carefully seal the edges of the plastic to make sure the wrap adheres closely to the skin. If the affected area is moist, you can leave the edges of the plastic wrap partly unsealed or puncture the wrap to allow excess moisture to escape.
    5. Leave the plastic wrap in place as long as directed by your doctor. Usually plastic wraps are left in place no more than 12 hours each day.
    6. Cleanse the skin and reapply the medication each time a new plastic wrapping is applied.
    Apply the rectal cream or ointment externally to the anal area. Some nonprescription creams may be applied to the genital and anal areas; read the label of the product you are using carefully.
    The hydrocortisone enema comes with directions that you should follow carefully. Lie on your left side while using the enema and for 30 minutes afterward. Try to hold the enema in for at least 1 hour and preferably all night.
    The rectal foam also comes with directions that you should follow carefully. A special applicator is provided and always should be used to apply the foam. Do not insert any part of the container into your rectum. After using the applicator, take it apart and clean it thoroughly with warm water.
    To insert a rectal suppository, follow these steps:
    1. Remove the wrapper. If the suppository is too soft to insert, chill it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or run cold water over it before removing the foil wrapper.
    2. Dip the tip of the suppository in water.
    3. Lie down on your left side and raise your right knee to your chest. (A left-handed person should lie on the right side and raise the left knee.)
    4. Using your finger, insert the suppository into the rectum (about 1/2 to 1 inch [1.25 to 2.5 centimeters] in infants and children and 1 inch [2.5 centimeters] in adults). Hold it in place for a few moments.
    5. Remain lying down for 15 minutes. Then, stand up, wash your hands thoroughly, and resume your normal activities.
    Note that some hydrocortisone suppositories may stain fabric, so take any precautions needed.

    What SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS should I follow?

    Before using hydrocortisone,
    • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to hydrocortisone or any other drugs.
    • tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially cancer chemotherapy agents, other topical medications, and vitamins.
    • tell your doctor if you have an infection or have ever had diabetes, glaucoma, a circulation disorder, or an immune disorder.
    • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while using hydrocortisone, call your doctor immediately.
    • remember not to use hydrocortisone on children less than 2 years of age without talking to a doctor.

    What should I do IF I FORGET to take a dose?

    Apply the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not apply a double dose to make up for a missed one.

    What SIDE EFFECTS can this medicine cause?

    Hydrocortisone may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
    • drying or cracking of the skin
    • acne
    • itching
    • burning
    • change in skin color
    If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
    • severe skin rash
    • difficulty breathing or swallowing
    • wheezing
    • skin infection (redness, swelling, or oozing of pus)
    If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch ] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].

    What should I know about STORAGE and DISPOSAL of this medication?

    Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it according to the package instructions. Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.

    What OTHER INFORMATION should I know?

    Keep all appointments with your doctor.
    Do not let anyone else use your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
    It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.

    Brand Names

    • Acticort®
    • Aeroseb-HC®
    • Ala-Cort®
    • Ala-Scalp®
    • Aloe Cort®
    • Anusol® HC
    • Aquanil® HC
    • Baneol®
    • Caldecort®
    • Carmol® HC
    • Cetacort®
    • Coraz®
    • Cortaid®
    • CortAlo®
    • Cortane®
    • Cort-Dome®
    • Corticaine®
    • Corticool®
    • Corticreme®
    • Cortizone®
    • Cotacort®
    • Delcort®
    • Dermacort®
    • Dermarest® Eczema Medicated Lotion
    • Dermol® HC
    • Dermolate®
    • Dermtex® HC
    • Gly-Cort®
    • Gynecort®
    • Hycort®
    • Hytone®
    • Instacort®
    • Ivocort®
    • Lacticare-HC®
    • Locoid®
    • MiCort-HC®
    • Neutrogena T-Scalp®
    • Nogenic® HC
    • Nucort®
    • Nutracort®
    • NuZon®
    • Pandel®
    • Pediaderm® HC
    • Penecort®
    • Procort®
    • Propet®
    • Recort Plus®
    • Rederm®
    • Sarnol-HC®
    • Scalacort®
    • Scalp-Aid®
    • Scalp-Cort®
    • Texacort®
    • Tucks® HC
    • U-Cort®
    • Westcort®
    • Xebcort®
    • Alacortin® (as a combination product containing Hydrocortisone, Iodoquinol)
    • Analpram® HC (as a combination product containing Hydrocortisone, Pramoxine)
    • Anamantle® HC (as a combination product containing Hydrocortisone, Lidocaine)
    • Dermazene® (as a combination product containing Hydrocortisone, Iodoquinol)
    • Enzone® (as a combination product containing Hydrocortisone, Pramoxine)
    • Epifoam® (as a combination product containing Hydrocortisone, Pramoxine)
    • Fungoid® and HC (as a combination product containing Hydrocortisone, Miconazole)
    • Hydropram® (as a combination product containing Hydrocortisone, Pramoxine)
    • Keratol® HC (as a combination product containing Hydrocortisone, Urea)
    • Lidamantle® HC (as a combination product containing Hydrocortisone, Lidocaine)
    • Lidazone® HC (as a combination product containing Hydrocortisone, Lidocaine)
    • Lodocort® (as a combination product containing Hydrocortisone, Iodoquinol)
    • Neo-Cortef® (as a combination product containing Hydrocortisone, Neomycin)
    • Novacort® (as a combination product containing Hydrocortisone, Pramoxine)
    • Pramosone® (as a combination product containing Hydrocortisone, Pramoxine)
    • Rectacreme® HC (as a combination product containing Hydrocortisone, Lidocaine)
    • Senatec® HC (as a combination product containing Hydrocortisone, Lidocaine)
    • Sonapram® (as a combination product containing Hydrocortisone, Pramoxine)
    • Vytone® (as a combination product containing Hydrocortisone, Iodoquinol)
    • Xyralid® (as a combination product containing Hydrocortisone, Lidocaine)
    • Zone-A® (as a combination product containing Hydrocortisone, Pramoxine)
    • ZyPram® (as a combination product containing Hydrocortisone, Pramoxine)
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