Generic name: hydrocortisone (hye-droe-KOR-ti-sone VAL-er-ate)
Drug class: Topical steroids
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Nov 8, 2020.
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
Available Dosage Forms:
Therapeutic Class: Corticosteroid, Intermediate
Pharmacologic Class: Hydrocortisone
Uses for hydrocortisone valerate
Hydrocortisone valerate topical is used to help relieve redness, itching, swelling, or other discomfort caused by skin conditions. Hydrocortisone valerate is a corticosteroid (cortisone-like medicine or steroid).
Hydrocortisone valerate is available only with your doctor's prescription.
Before using hydrocortisone valerate
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For hydrocortisone valerate, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to hydrocortisone valerate or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of hydrocortisone valerate topical in the pediatric population. However, because of hydrocortisone valerate's toxicity, it should be used with caution. Children and teenagers who must use hydrocortisone valerate should be checked often by their doctor since hydrocortisone valerate topical may be absorbed through the skin and can affect growth or cause other unwanted effects. Safety and effectiveness have not been established.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of hydrocortisone valerate topical in the elderly.
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Interactions with medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your healthcare professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.
Interactions with food/tobacco/alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other medical problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of hydrocortisone valerate. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Cushing's syndrome (adrenal gland disorder) or
- Diabetes or
- Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) or
- Intracranial hypertension (increased pressure in the head)—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
- Infection at or near the place of application or
- Large sores, broken skin, or severe injury at the area of application—The chance of side effects may be increased.
Proper use of hydrocortisone valerate
Use hydrocortisone valerate exactly as directed by your doctor. Do not use it for any other condition without first checking with your doctor. Hydrocortisone valerate may cause unwanted effects if it is used too much, because more of it is absorbed into the body through the skin.
Wash your hands with soap and water before and after using hydrocortisone valerate.
Be very careful not to get hydrocortisone valerate in your eyes. Wash your hands after using your finger to apply the medicine. If you accidentally get hydrocortisone valerate in your eyes, flush them with water.
Apply a thin layer of hydrocortisone valerate to the affected area of the skin. Rub it in gently.
Unless otherwise directed by your doctor, do not apply hydrocortisone valerate to open wounds, burns, or broken or inflamed skin.
Hydrocortisone valerate should only be used for problems being treated by your doctor. Check with your doctor before using it for other problems, especially if you think that an infection may be present. Hydrocortisone valerate should not be used to treat certain kinds of skin infections or serious problems, such as severe burns.
Do not bandage or otherwise wrap the skin being treated unless directed to do so by your doctor.
If your doctor has ordered an occlusive dressing (airtight covering, such as kitchen plastic wrap or a special patch) to be applied over hydrocortisone valerate, make sure you know how to apply it. Since occlusive dressings increase the amount of medicine absorbed through your skin and the possibility of side effects, use them only as directed. If you have any questions about this, check with your doctor.
Do not use hydrocortisone valerate on the face, groin, or underarms unless directed to do so by your doctor.
The dose of hydrocortisone valerate will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of hydrocortisone valerate. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
- For topical dosage forms (cream and ointment):
- For redness, itching, and swelling of the skin:
- Adults—Apply to the affected area of the skin two or three times a day.
- Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
- For redness, itching, and swelling of the skin:
If you miss a dose of hydrocortisone valerate, apply it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule.
Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.
Keep out of the reach of children.
Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.
Precautions while using hydrocortisone valerate
It is very important that your doctor check your or your child's progress at regular visits for any problems or unwanted effects that may be caused by hydrocortisone valerate.
If your symptoms do not improve within 2 weeks, or if it become worse, check with your doctor.
After applying hydrocortisone valerate to the skin of your child, watch the child carefully to make sure that he or she does not get any of the medicine in the eyes or mouth. Hydrocortisone valerate can cause serious side effects, especially in children, if it gets into the mouth and is swallowed.
Using too much of hydrocortisone valerate or using it for a long time may increase your risk of having adrenal gland problems. The risk is greater for children and for patients who use large amounts for a long time. Talk to your doctor if you or your child have more than one of these symptoms while you are using hydrocortisone valerate: blurred vision; dizziness or fainting; fast, irregular, or pounding heartbeat; increased thirst or urination; irritability; or unusual tiredness or weakness.
Stop using hydrocortisone valerate and check with your doctor right away if you or your child have a skin rash, burning, stinging, swelling, or irritation on the skin.
Avoid using tight-fitting diapers or plastic pants on a child if hydrocortisone valerate is being used on the child's diaper area. Plastic pants and tight-fitting diapers may increase the chance of absorption of the medicine through the skin and the chance of side effects.
Do not use cosmetics or other skin care products on the treated skin areas.
Hydrocortisone valerate side effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- Skin rash, encrusted, scaly, and oozing
- Burning, itching, redness, skin rash, swelling, or soreness at the application site
- cough or hoarseness
- dry skin
- fever or chills
- itching in the genital or other skin areas
- lower back or side pain
- painful or difficult urination
- rash with flat lesions or small raised lesions on the skin
- skin irritation
Incidence not known
- Blistering, burning, crusting, dryness, or flaking of the skin
- 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 facial or intertriginous areas
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- loss of appetite
- nausea or vomiting
- passing of gas
- stomach pain, fullness, or discomfort
Incidence not known
- Acne or pimples
- burning and itching of the skin with pinhead-sized red blisters
- burning, itching, and pain in hairy areas, or pus at the root of the hair
- increased hair growth on the forehead, back, arms, and legs
- lightening of normal skin color
- lightening of treated areas of dark skin
- reddish purple lines on the arms, face, legs, trunk, or groin
- softening of the skin
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
More about hydrocortisone topical
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- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Dosage Information
- Drug Interactions
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