Generic Name: hydrocortisone (hye-droe-KOR-ti-sone)
Brand Name: Examples include Instacort and Scalpicin
Hydrocortisone gel is used for:
Reducing itching, redness, and swelling associated with many skin conditions.
Hydrocortisone gel is a topical corticosteroid. It works by depressing the formation, release, and activity of different cells and chemicals that cause swelling, redness, and itching.
Hydrocortisone gel is a topical corticosteroid. The exact mechanism of action is not known.
Do NOT use hydrocortisone gel if:
- you are allergic to any ingredient in hydrocortisone gel
Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.
Before using hydrocortisone gel:
Some medical conditions may interact with hydrocortisone gel. 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 a skin infection, measles, thinning of the skin, tuberculosis (TB), chicken pox, shingles, a positive TB skin test, or have recently had a vaccination
Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with hydrocortisone gel. Because little, if any, of hydrocortisone gel is absorbed into the blood, the risk of it interacting with another medicine is low.
Ask your health care provider if hydrocortisone gel 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 gel:
Use hydrocortisone gel 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 gel, unless your hands are part of the treated area.
- Do not bandage or wrap the affected area unless directed otherwise by your doctor.
- If you miss a dose of hydrocortisone gel, use it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not use 2 doses at once.
Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use hydrocortisone gel.
Important safety information:
- Do not use hydrocortisone gel for other skin conditions at a later time.
- If you are using hydrocortisone gel for a rectal condition, do not put hydrocortisone gel in the rectum using fingers or any mechanical device or applicator.
- Hydrocortisone gel is for external use only. Do not get hydrocortisone gel in your eyes. If you get hydrocortisone gel in your eyes, immediately flush them with cool tap water.
- If hydrocortisone gel was prescribed to treat the diaper area of a child, avoid using tight-fitting diapers or plastic pants.
- Check with your doctor before having vaccinations while you are using hydrocortisone gel.
- Do not use hydrocortisone gel for external vaginal itching if vaginal discharge is present.
- Corticosteroids may affect growth rate in CHILDREN and teenagers in some cases. They may need regular growth checks while they use hydrocortisone gel, especially if the child is using a large amount of it or using it for a long period of time.
- PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using hydrocortisone gel while you are pregnant. It is not known if hydrocortisone gel is found in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you use hydrocortisone gel, check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.
Possible side effects of hydrocortisone gel:
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:
Mild, temporary stinging; skin irritation or dryness.
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); infection; itching, burning, pain, redness, or swelling of the skin not present before using hydrocortisone gel; skin thinning and discoloration.
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. Hydrocortisone gel may be harmful if swallowed.Proper storage of hydrocortisone gel:
Store hydrocortisone gel at room temperature, between 68 and 77 degrees F (20 and 25 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep hydrocortisone gel out of the reach of children and away from pets.
- If you have any questions about hydrocortisone gel, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- Hydrocortisone gel 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 gel 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 gel. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to hydrocortisone gel. 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 gel.
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.