Generic Name: hydrocortisone (HYE-droe-KOR-ti-sone)
Brand Name: Examples include Locoid and Westcort
Hydrocortisone cream is used for:
Reducing itching, redness, and swelling associated with many skin conditions.
Hydrocortisone cream is a topical corticosteroid. It works by reducing skin inflammation (redness, swelling, itching, and irritation).
Do NOT use hydrocortisone cream if:
- you are allergic to any ingredient in hydrocortisone cream
Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.
Before using hydrocortisone cream:
Some medical conditions may interact with hydrocortisone cream. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:
- if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
- if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
- if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
- if you have chickenpox, shingles, measles, or tuberculosis (TB), or have had a positive TB skin test or a recent vaccination
- if you have had a skin infection, thinning of the skin (atrophy), or a certain type of severe acne (rosacea)
- if you are taking an oral corticosteroid (eg, prednisone)
Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with hydrocortisone cream. Because little, if any, of hydrocortisone cream is absorbed into the blood, the risk of it interacting with another medicine is low.
Ask your health care provider if hydrocortisone cream may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.
How to use hydrocortisone cream:
Use hydrocortisone cream as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.
- Apply a small amount of medicine to the affected area. Gently rub it in until it is evenly distributed. Wash your hands after applying hydrocortisone cream, unless your hands are part of the treated area.
- Do not bandage or wrap the affected area unless directed otherwise by your doctor.
- Do not use hydrocortisone cream on your face, groin, or underarms unless your doctor tells you otherwise.
- If you miss a dose of hydrocortisone cream, apply it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular schedule. Do not use 2 doses at once.
Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use hydrocortisone cream.
Important safety information:
- Hydrocortisone cream is for external use only. If you get hydrocortisone cream in your eyes, immediately flush them with cool tap water.
- Do NOT use more than the recommended dose or use for longer than 2 weeks without checking with your doctor.
- Do not apply hydrocortisone cream over large areas of the body, to open wounds, or to scraped, infected, or burned skin without first checking with your doctor.
- If your symptoms do not get better within 2 weeks or if they get worse, check with your doctor.
- Talk with your doctor before you use any other medicines or cleansers on your skin.
- Do not use hydrocortisone cream for other skin conditions at a later time.
- If hydrocortisone cream was prescribed to treat the diaper area of a child, avoid using tight-fitting diapers or plastic pants.
- Hydrocortisone cream has a corticosteroid in it. Before you start any new medicine, check the label to see if it has a corticosteroid in it too. If it does or you are not sure, check with your doctor or pharmacist.
- Tell your doctor or dentist that you use hydrocortisone cream before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
- Check with your doctor before having vaccinations while you are using hydrocortisone cream.
- Serious side effects may occur if too much of hydrocortisone cream is absorbed through the skin. This may be more likely to occur if you use hydrocortisone cream over a large area of the body. It may also be more likely if you wrap or bandage the area after you apply hydrocortisone cream. The risk is greater in children. Do not use more than the prescribed dose. Contact your doctor right away if you develop unusual weight gain (especially in the face), muscle weakness, increased thirst or urination, confusion, unusual drowsiness, severe or persistent headache, or vision changes. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.
- Corticosteroids may affect growth rate in CHILDREN and teenagers in some cases. They may need regular growth checks while they use hydrocortisone cream.
- Hydrocortisone cream should not be used in CHILDREN; safety and effectiveness in children have not been confirmed.
- PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using hydrocortisone cream while you are pregnant. It is not known if hydrocortisone cream is found in breast milk after topical use. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you use hydrocortisone cream, check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.
Possible side effects of hydrocortisone cream:
All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:
Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:
Burning, dryness, itching, or mild skin irritation.
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); acne-like rash; excessive hair growth; inflamed hair follicles; inflammation around the mouth; itching, burning, pain, redness, or swelling of the skin not present before using hydrocortisone cream; muscle weakness; symptoms of high blood sugar (eg, increased thirst, hunger, or urination; confusion; unusual drowsiness; flushing; rapid breathing); thinning, softening, or discoloration of the skin; unusual weight gain, especially in the face.
This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately.Proper storage of hydrocortisone cream:
Store hydrocortisone cream at room temperature, between 59 and 77 degrees F (15 and 25 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep hydrocortisone cream out of the reach of children and away from pets.
- If you have any questions about hydrocortisone cream, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- Hydrocortisone cream is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
- If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
- Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.
This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take hydrocortisone cream or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about hydrocortisone cream. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to hydrocortisone cream. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using hydrocortisone cream.
Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.
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