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Why is this medication prescribed?
Hydrocortisone is available with or without a prescription. Low-strength preparations (0.5% or 1%) are used without a prescription for the temporary relief of (1) minor skin irritations, itching, and rashes caused by eczema, insect bites, poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac, soaps, detergents, cosmetics, and jewelry; (2) itchy anal and rectal areas; and (3) itching and irritation of the scalp. It also is used to relieve the discomfort of mouth sores.
Hydrocortisone may be prescribed by your doctor to relieve the itching, redness, dryness, crusting, scaling, inflammation, and discomfort of various skin conditions; the inflammation of ulcerative colitis or proctitis; or the swelling and discomfort of hemorrhoids and other rectal problems.
This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
How should this medicine be used?
Hydrocortisone comes as ointment, cream, lotion, liquid, gel, medicated cloth towelette, and spray for use on the skin; foam, suppositories, cream, ointment, and enema for rectal use; and paste for use in the mouth.
Hydrocortisone is usually used one to four times a day for skin problems.
For mouth sores, it usually is applied two or three times a day after meals and at bedtime. If mouth sores do not begin to heal within 7 days, call your doctor.
For colitis, hydrocortisone usually is used every night or twice a day (every morning and night) for 2 or 3 weeks. Although colitis symptoms may improve within 3-5 days, 2-3 months of regular enema use may be required. Call your doctor if your colitis symptoms do not improve within 3 weeks.
For proctitis, hydrocortisone usually is used one or two times a day for 2-3weeks, then if necessary every other day until your condition improves. Proctitis symptoms may improve within 5-7 days.
For hemorrhoids, hydrocortisone usually is used twice a day (every morning and night) for 2-6 days.
Follow the directions on the label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part that you do not understand. Use hydrocortisone exactly as directed. Do not use more or less of it or use it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
If you obtained hydrocortisone without a prescription and your condition does not improve within 7 days, stop using it and call your doctor.
Call your doctor if any area treated with hydrocortisone gets worse or if redness, swelling, or oozing of pus develops.
To use hydrocortisone ointment, cream, lotion, liquid, or gel on your skin, wash or soak the affected area thoroughly before applying the medication, unless it irritates your skin. Then apply sparingly in a thin film and rub it in gently.
To use the lotion, liquid, or gel on your scalp, part your hair, apply a small amount of the medicine on the affected area, and rub it in gently. Protect the area from washing and rubbing until the medication dries. You may wash your hair as usual but not right after applying the medicine.
To apply the aerosol spray, shake well and spray on the affected area holding the container about 3-6 inches away. Spray for about 2 seconds to cover an area the size of your hand. Take care not to inhale the vapors. If you are spraying near your face, cover your eyes.
Avoid prolonged use on the face, in the genital and rectal areas, and in skin creases and armpits unless directed to do so by your doctor.
If you are using hydrocortisone on your face, keep it out of your eyes.
If you are using hydrocortisone on a child=s diaper area, do not use tight-fitting diapers or plastic pants. Such use may increase side effects.
Do not apply cosmetics or other skin preparations on the treated area without talking to your doctor.
If your doctor tells you to wrap or bandage the treated area, follow these instructions:
Apply the rectal cream or ointment externally to the anal area. Some nonprescription creams may be applied to the genital and anal areas; read the label of the product you are using carefully.
The hydrocortisone enema comes with directions that you should follow carefully. Lie on your left side while using the enema and for 30 minutes afterward. Try to hold the enema in for at least 1 hour and preferably all night.
The rectal foam also comes with directions that you should follow carefully. A special applicator is provided and always should be used to apply the foam. Do not insert any part of the container into your rectum. After using the applicator, take it apart and clean it thoroughly with warm water.
To insert a rectal suppository, follow these steps:
Note that some hydrocortisone suppositories may stain fabric, so take any precautions needed.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before using hydrocortisone,
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Apply the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not apply a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Although side effects from hydrocortisone are not common, they can occur. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it according to the package instructions. Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
Do not let anyone else use your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT