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Molecule Description

Hydrocortisone belongs to a group of medicines called Corticosteroids. It replaces the adrenal hormones in your body, which you may be lacking.

Uses of Hydrocortisone

  • It can be used as replacement therapy for children with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (which affects the body's natural production of steroids)
  • It is also used to treat severe asthma and allergic reactions (in adults and children)

Contraindications of Hydrocortisone

When should one not use Hydrocortisone

  • If you are allergic to Hydrocortisone or any of the other ingredients
  • If you are suffering from an infection
  • If you are going to have any vaccinations

Side effects of Hydrocortisone

Common side effects of this drug are:

  • Fits (convulsions)
  • Difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
  • Irritability
  • Vertigo
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Increased appetite
  • Delayed wound healing
  • Bleeding ulcers (indicated by stomach pain, bleeding from the anus, black stools or being sick with blood present)
  • Muscle weakness
  • Thinning of bones which makes fractures more likely (osteoporosis)
  • Cataracts (clouding of the lens in the eye)
  • Increase in blood sugar
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Thromboembolism

Precautions and Warnings of Hydrocortisone


Can I take Hydrocortisone during pregnancy?
It is advised not to take this medicine if you are pregnant or planning for pregnancy. Consult a doctor before taking this medicine during pregnancy.

Breast Feeding

Can I take Hydrocortisone while breastfeeding?
It can be pass into breast milk. So breastfeeding women should tell their doctor before taking this medicine.


Can I drive if I have consumed Hydrocortisone?
It may make affect your vision or make you feel dizzy. If you have any of these symptoms, you should not drive.


Can I consume alcohol with Hydrocortisone?
You must make sure that you don’t consume alcohol when you are taking the medicine.

Other General Warnings

Talk to your doctor if
  • You feel itching or skin rashes, swelling of the face, lips or throat, difficulty breathing or wheeziness
  • You have liver, kidney, thyroid or heart problems
  • You have any infections
  • You have any thyroid problems or suffering from tuberculosis (TB)
  • You have a history of liver, kidney or any heart problems
  • You have diabetes or high blood pressure
  • You have a condition of osteoporosis (thinning of the bones)
  • You are suffering from glaucoma (increased pressure in the eye)
  • You have HIV infection or epilepsy
  • You are suffering from stomach ulcers or other digestive problems
  • You have a history of chickenpox, shingles or measles

Mode of Action of Hydrocortisone

How Does It Work?

Hydrocortisone is a Corticosteroid or a steroid that reduces the skin inflammation by inhibiting the synthesis of prostaglandins and leukotrienes, which is responsible for inflammation. It can also suppress the immune system.
Read less

Interactions of Hydrocortisone

Interactions with other medicines

  • Medicine used to assist medical termination of pregnancy (Mifepristone)
  • Diuretics (water tablets)
  • Medicine used to treat ulcers (Carbenoxolone)
  • Medicine used to treat rheumatoid arthritis
  • Medicines used to treat asthma and other breathing problems (Theophylline, Bambuterol, Fenoterol, Formoterol, Ritodrine, Salbutamol, Salmeterol and Terbutaline)
  • Medicines used to treat high blood pressure
  • Medicines used to thin the blood like Warfarin
  • Aspirin
  • Medicines used to treat mild to moderate pain such as Ibuprofen, Diclofenac or Naproxen
  • Medicines for diabetes (Insulin)
  • Medicines used to treat bacterial infections (Erythromycin or Clarithromycin)
  • Oral contraceptive pill
  • Medicines used to treat HIV infections (Efavirenz or Nevirapine)
  • Medicine used to treat glaucoma (Acetazolamide)
  • Medicines used to treat fungal infections (Amphotericin, Ketoconazole, Itraconazole, Posaconazole or Voriconazole)
  • Medicine used for treating depression
  • Medicines used to treat epilepsy (Phenytoin, Phenobarbital, Carbamazepine and Primidone)
  • Medicines used to treat TB (Rifabutin and Rifampicin)
  • Medicine used in the treatment of cancer
  • Medicines used to treat heart failure and irregular heartbeat (Digoxin)

Interactions with food items

  • Limit the portion of carbohydrates and salt intake
  • Start taking potassium supplements
  • Consume meals that are high in protein

Dosage of Hydrocortisone


You must ensure that you seek immediate medical attention if you believe that you have overdosed on the medicine. Symptoms of overdosage may include nausea, vomiting, sodium and water retention, and occasional gastrointestinal bleeding.
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Missed a Dose

If you missed a dose, try to follow the regular dosage schedule. Do not double the dose.

Content Details


Dr. Ritu Budania

MBBS, MD (Pharmacology)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Q: Can I use Hydrocortisone on my face?

A: You should never use over-the-counter preparations of Hydrocortisone on your face unless a doctor prescribes them. Most of the Hydrocortisone products are not sold to be used on the face. The skin on the face is very delicate. Long-term use of such steroids that are strong can cause noticeable damage to the face.

Q: Does Hydrocortisone raise blood sugar?

A: If you have diabetes, then yes, Hydrocortisone has a high chance of increasing the blood sugar levels in your body.

Q: How long does it take for Hydrocortisone to work?

A: It should take around 72 hours for the effects to show clearly. It is recommended that you use Hydrocortisone cream for seven days. If you don’t see any results, you may need a stronger formulation of Hydrocortisone or a different steroid. If used for an extended period, Hydrocortisone begins to reduce its effect.
Last Updated on: 05 Oct 2020 | 10:47 PM (IST)

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The information provided herein is accurate, updated and complete as per the best practices of the Company. Please note that this information should not be treated as a replacement for physical medical consultation or advice. We do not guarantee the accuracy and the completeness of the information so provided. The absence of any information and/or warning to any drug shall not be considered and assumed as an implied assurance of the Company. We do not take any responsibility for the consequences arising out of the aforementioned information and strongly recommend you for a physical consultation in case of any queries or doubts. Please click here for detailed T&C.
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