Hydrocortisone is a corticosteroid that reduces inflammation. Target symptoms include swelling, redness, and pain.
It is normally used to treat allergic reactions, asthma, adrenal problems, lupus, ulcerative colitis, skin conditions, and multiple sclerosis flare-ups. You need a prescription in order to purchase oral hydrocortisone. It is sold in tablet or suspension form.
2 What to Know Before Using
Before taking any type of medication, be sure to discuss the risks and benefits involved with your primary care physician. You need to consider a variety of factors first.
One of the things you need to think about is allergies. The doctor may conduct a test just to make sure you are not allergic to hydrocortisone or any of its components. You also need to inform your physician about allergies to food, dyes, animals, and/or preservatives.
Also, discuss with your doctor if there are age-related risks when it comes to using oral hydrocortisone.
This medication has a pregnancy category C, which means that there isn’t enough research regarding its effects on pregnant women and the fetus. You may need to talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of using hydrocortisone while breastfeeding.
Drug interactions must also be considered. The live rotavirus vaccine should not be administered while you are on hydrocortisone treatment. Using aldesleukin, bupropion, dasabuvir, pixantrone, piperaquine, and topotecan simultaneously with hydrocortisone is not recommended but, at times, can be necessary. In cases like these, your physician can change the dosing and timing of either or both medications.
Alcohol consumption and tobacco use during treatment are generally discouraged. Talk to your doctor if you have concerns about it.
Before using hydrocortisone, you also need to think about preexisting medical conditions that may influence the effectiveness of this medicine. Inform your physician if you suffer from cataracts, congestive heart failure, diabetes, Cushing’s syndrome, infection of any kind, glaucoma, hypertension, mood changes, myasthenia gravis, osteoporosis, peptic ulcer, stomach or intestinal problems, and inactive tuberculosis. Hydrocortisone should not be used in patients with fungal infections.
Take the hydrocortisone tablet or suspension according to your doctor’s instructions. Your physician will order a specific dosage and schedule for you.
Do not abruptly stop using this medication without informing your doctor. Usually, hydrocortisone is slowly tapered down and then discontinued.
The timing, frequency and dosage depend on your medical condition. So it is important to stick to the instructions and not copy someone else’s.
Usually, 20 to 240 mg per day is prescribed to adults depending on the severity of their illness. Dosage for children is to be calculated by the physician.
For missed doses, take it as soon as you can. However, if it is close to the next timing, skip it and resume to the normal schedule.
As with other medications, keep hydrocortisone away from children and in a dry, sealed container. Throw away outdated medications.
4 Precautions To Take
Keep regular appointments with your doctor, so that he/she can monitor your progress consistently. It is also a great way to check and prevent untoward effects.
Being on hydrocortisone treatment for a long time increases the risk of developing adrenal gland issues. Watch out for signs and symptoms that indicate this, including increased thirst and urination, unusual tiredness, blurry vision, dizziness, and irregular heartbeat. If you experience any of those, inform your doctor immediately.
Stress can also have a negative effect on your body when you are on long-term hydrocortisone therapy. That is why it’s important to tell your doctor about stressful events or situations. Changing your dose may be required.
This medication can make you prone to infection. Avoid contact with people who have infections of any type, practice good hygiene, and don’t get vaccinated without your physician’s approval.
Inform your doctor if you have behavioral changes or mood swings.
Hydrocortisone can put you at risk for osteoporosis. Call your doctor right away if you experience bone pain.
It is also important that your healthcare team (other physicians and dentists) is made aware of your status.
Also, take this medication with milk or food since it can cause stomach irritation.
5 Potential Side Effects
You may experience several side effects while on this medication. Some effects go away without treatment while others may require medical attention.
Inform your doctor as soon as possible if you experience aggression, abdominal pain, anxiety, agitation, decrease in the amount of urine, irregular heartbeat, depression, dizziness, headache, blurred vision, trouble sleeping, fruit-like breath odor, mood changes, numbness in the arms or legs, unexplained weight loss, shortness of breath, weight gain, and trouble thinking, speaking, or walking.
Side effects that don’t need immediate medical attention include increased appetite, acne, dry scalp, and reddish purple lines on the arms, face, legs, trunk, or groin.
If you experience signs and symptoms that are not mentioned above, inform your healthcare team.
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