CORTEF (Hydrocortisone)
CORTEF (Hydrocortisone)
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CORTEF (Hydrocortisone)

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What is this medication?

CORTEF (Hydrocortisone)
Systemic Corticosteroid

CORTEF (Hydrocortisone) is indicated for the treatment of primary and secondary adrenocortical insufficiency, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, arthritis, dermatologic diseases, severe allergies including ophthalmic allergies, respiratory diseases, and hematologic disorders. Hydrocortisone decreases the immune system's response to various diseases to reduce symptoms such as pain, swelling and allergic-type reactions.

How does this medication work? 

CORTEF (Hydrocortisone) is a naturally occurring adrenal steroid hormone with glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid activity.  Hydrocortisone is a short-acting corticosteroid that can reduce inflammation by suppressing the migration of polymorphonuclear leukocytes and reversing the increase permeability of capillaries.

How should I take this medication? 

Oral: Take 20mg to 240mg daily.

Adrenal Insufficiency
Oral: Take 15mg to 25mg daily in 2 to 3 divided doses.   Administer the highest dose in the morning upon awakening, followed by the next dose around lunch, followed by the last dose in the afternoon/evening no later than 4 to 6 hours before bedtime.

Asthma, Acute Exacerbation (Off-Label)
Oral: Take 200mg in divided doses for 5 to 7 days.

* Adjust the dosage of CORTEF upon the condition being treated and the response to therapy.  Always use the lowest therapeutic dose to manage the medical condition, when dose reduction is possible start gradually reducing the dose.

How to Take: Take with food or milk to decrease gastrointestinal upset.  Higher dosages are typically taken with breakfast in the morning with lower doses in the mid-day and evening.  Take the medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor at the same time each day.

What should I watch for while using this medication? 

Before starting CORTEF (Hydrocortisone), make sure your physician is aware of any allergies or medications you currently take, if you are pregnant, or breastfeeding. Studies have linked first trimester use of systemic corticosteroids to adverse events such as oral clefts and decrease birth weight.  When treating women during pregnancy, Hydrocortisone is the preferred corticosteroid.  The doses can be adjusted as the pregnancy progresses while the pregnant woman undergoes routine monitoring. Use with caution if using higher doses for prolonged periods because hypercortisolemia can suppress the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, as well as cause immunosuppression and increase the risk of a secondary infection, mask an acute infection, prolong, or exacerbate viral infection. Other reports of prolonged use of Hydrocortisone includes the development of Kaposi sarcoma. Hydrocortisone may cause psychiatric disturbances including euphoria, insomnia, mood swings, depression, and other psychotic manifestations. Use Hydrocortisone with caution in patients with cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, gastrointestinal disease due to perforation risk, hepatic and/or renal impairment, myasthenia gravis, cataracts and/or glaucoma, osteoporosis, history of a seizure disorder, systemic sclerosis.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, make sure to take it as soon as possible.  However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular schedule.

How should I store this medication?

Keep out of the reach of children at all times. Store at room temperature, 59 to 86° F (15 to 30° C). Protect from light. Keep the container tightly closed. Properly dispose of any unused medication after the expiration date.

What are the possible side effects of using this medication?

Infection, mood changes, excess stomach acid secretion, insomnia, weight gain, increased hunger, nervousness.

Note this is not a complete list of side effects for CORTEF (Hydrocortisone), only common ones.