Generic Name: Topical hydrocortisone Brand Name(s): Generics only. No brands available.

Know the basics

What is topical hydrocortisone used for?       

Topical hydrocortisone is corticoids, commonly used for inflammatory in varied dermatological conditions including:

  • Eczema- atopic, infantile, discoid or stasis;
  • Dermatitis- primary irritant, contact allergic, photo or seborrhoeic;
  • Insect bite reactions;
  • Prurigo nodularis;
  • Neuro-dermatoses;
  • Otitis externa;
  • Intertrigo;
  • Napkin rash.

How should I take topical hydrocortisone?

  • Take hydrocortisone exactly as directions of your doctors. Consult your doctor if you do not understand any of directions mentioned in a label.
  • Before and after taking topical hydrocortisone, you should clean your hand.

How do I store topical hydrocortisone?

Topical hydrocortisone is best stored in the refrigerator. To prevent drug damage, do not freeze. There may be different brands of topical hydrocortisone that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush topical hydrocortisone down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Know the precautions & warnings

What should I know before using topical hydrocortisone?

Before using hydrocortisone tell your doctor if you have:

  • Allergies to any other medicines, foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals;
  • Pediatric;
  • Geriatric;
  • Cushing’s syndrome (adrenal gland disorder);
  • Diabetes;
  • Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar);
  • Intracranial hypertension (increased pressure in the head);
  • Infection of the skin at or near the place of application;
  • Large sores, broken skin, or severe skin injury at the place of application.

Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using topical hydrocortisone during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking topical hydrocortisone. Topical hydrocortisone is pregnancy risk category C, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

  • A=No risk;
  • B=No risk in some studies;
  • C=There may be some risk;
  • D=Positive evidence of risk;
  • X=Contraindicated;
  • N=Unknown.

Know the side effects

What side effects can occur from topical hydrocortisone?

Using topical hydrocortisone may cause some side effects, on the skin, such as:

  • Blistering, burning, crusting, dryness, or flaking of the skin;
  • Irritation;
  • Itching, scaling, severe redness, soreness, or swelling of the skin;
  • Redness and scaling around the mouth;
  • Thinning of the skin with easy bruising, especially when used on the face or where the skin folds together (e.g. between the fingers);
  • Thinning, weakness, or wasting away of the skin.

Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Know the interactions

What drugs may interact with topical hydrocortisone?

Topical hydrocortisone may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.

Does food or alcohol interact with topical hydrocortisone?

Topical hydrocortisone may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

What health conditions may interact with topical hydrocortisone?

Topical hydrocortisone may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have, especially:

  • Cushing’s syndrome;
  • Diabetes;
  • Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar);
  • Intracranial hypertension (increased pressure in the head);
  • Infection of the skin at or near the place of application;
  • Large sores, broken skin, or severe skin injury at the place of application.

Understand the dosage

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using topical hydrocortisone.

What is the dose of topical hydrocortisone for an adult?

  • For cream: apply to the affected area of the skin two or three times per day.
  • For lotion: apply to the affected area of the skin two to four times per day.
  • For ointment: apply to the affected area of the skin three or four times per day.
  • For solution: apply to the affected area of the skin three or four times per day.

What is the dose of topical hydrocortisone for a child?

  • For cream: apply to the affected area of the skin two or three times per day.
  • For lotion: apply to the affected area of the skin two to four times per day.
  • For ointment: apply to the affected area of the skin three or four times per day.
  • For solution: apply to the affected area of the skin three or four times per day.

How is topical hydrocortisone available?

Topical hydrocortisone is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

  • Ointment, Cream, Lotion, Solution: 0.5%, 1%, 2.5%;

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services (115) or go to your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of topical hydrocortisone, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: January 4, 2017 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017

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