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Hydrocortisone

What works?

Learn more about the effects of these drugs. The most reliable research is summed up for you in our featured article.

By mouth

Hydrocortisone provides relief for inflamed areas of the body. It is used to treat a number of different conditions, such as inflammation (swelling),… Read more

Brand names include: Cortef

By injection

Hydrocortisone is used to treat certain medical conditions, such as inflammation (swelling), severe allergic reactions, kidney diseases, adrenal problems,… Read more

Brand names include: A-Hydrocort, Solu-CORTEF 1000mg Vial

On the skin

Hydrocortisone topical is used to help relieve redness, itching, swelling, or other discomfort caused by skin conditions. This medicine is a corticosteroid… Read more

Brand names include: Ala-Cort, Ala-Scalp HP

Topical application route

Hydrocortisone butyrate topical is used to help relieve redness, itching, swelling, or other discomfort caused by skin conditions (e.g., atopic dermatitis,… Read more

Brand names include: Barriere-Hc, Cort-Eze

Topical application route

Hydrocortisone probutate topical is used to help relieve redness, itching, swelling, or other discomfort caused by skin conditions. This medicine is a… Read more

Brand names include: Barriere-Hc, Cort-Eze

Topical application route

Hydrocortisone valerate topical is used to help relieve redness, itching, swelling, or other discomfort caused by skin conditions. This medicine is a… Read more

Brand names include: Hydroval, Tarocort

Into the rectum

Treats inflammation of the rectum and anus. May also be used for ulcerative colitis and similar conditions. This medicine is a corticosteroid… Read more

Brand names include: Anucort-HC, Anusol-HC

Into the rectum

Treats ulcerative colitis. This medicine is a corticosteroid… Read more

Brand names include: Colocort, Cortenema

Drug classes About this
Anti-Inflammatory, Corticosteroid, Intermediate, Corticosteroid, Weak, Endocrine-Metabolic Agent, Gastrointestinal Agent, Hemorrhoidal Anti-Inflammatory, Hydrocortisone, Immune Suppressant
Combinations including this drug

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Corticosteroids for treating hypotension in preterm infants

It is unclear whether giving steroids to premature newborn babies who have hypotension (low blood pressure) is safe and effective. Low blood pressure is a relatively common problem in premature newborn babies and has been linked with serious short and long term problems including death and neurodisability. Various treatments are used to support the circulation and boost blood pressure. One such treatment is the use of steroid drugs. This review found four small studies that evaluated the effect of steroids on low blood pressure in premature infants. At present, there is insufficient information on which to base recommendations about the value of giving steroids to babies born before term who have low blood pressure.

Corticosteroids for aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage and primary intracerebral haemorrhage

There is no evidence of benefit from corticosteroids for patients with stroke due to bleeding. About one fifth of all strokes are due to bursting of an artery. The burst artery causes bleeding into the brain itself (called intracerebral haemorrhage) or into the space around the brain (called subarachnoid haemorrhage). After either type of bleed the brain tissue may become swollen. The swelling causes a rise in pressure which can cause further brain damage or even death. Corticosteroids could reduce swelling after brain haemorrhage and so improve the chances of the patient recovering. However, corticosteroids can also have important adverse effects such as increased blood sugars, infection, and gastrointestinal bleeding. The trials included in this review had too few participants to provide reliable evidence on any benefits weighed against harms of this treatment for patients with stroke due to bleeding in the brain.

Pre‐transfusion drugs for preventing side effects from blood transfusions

Febrile non‐haemolytic transfusion reactions (FNHTRs) and allergic reactions are the most common adverse reactions to blood transfusion. These reactions are often related to other dangerous side effects from transfusion such as sepsis due to contaminated blood products and intravascular red cell haemolysis.

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Summaries for consumers

Corticosteroids for treating hypotension in preterm infants

It is unclear whether giving steroids to premature newborn babies who have hypotension (low blood pressure) is safe and effective. Low blood pressure is a relatively common problem in premature newborn babies and has been linked with serious short and long term problems including death and neurodisability. Various treatments are used to support the circulation and boost blood pressure. One such treatment is the use of steroid drugs. This review found four small studies that evaluated the effect of steroids on low blood pressure in premature infants. At present, there is insufficient information on which to base recommendations about the value of giving steroids to babies born before term who have low blood pressure.

Corticosteroids for aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage and primary intracerebral haemorrhage

There is no evidence of benefit from corticosteroids for patients with stroke due to bleeding. About one fifth of all strokes are due to bursting of an artery. The burst artery causes bleeding into the brain itself (called intracerebral haemorrhage) or into the space around the brain (called subarachnoid haemorrhage). After either type of bleed the brain tissue may become swollen. The swelling causes a rise in pressure which can cause further brain damage or even death. Corticosteroids could reduce swelling after brain haemorrhage and so improve the chances of the patient recovering. However, corticosteroids can also have important adverse effects such as increased blood sugars, infection, and gastrointestinal bleeding. The trials included in this review had too few participants to provide reliable evidence on any benefits weighed against harms of this treatment for patients with stroke due to bleeding in the brain.

Pre‐transfusion drugs for preventing side effects from blood transfusions

Febrile non‐haemolytic transfusion reactions (FNHTRs) and allergic reactions are the most common adverse reactions to blood transfusion. These reactions are often related to other dangerous side effects from transfusion such as sepsis due to contaminated blood products and intravascular red cell haemolysis.

See all (31)

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