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Cortisone

Generic Name: cortisone (KOR ti sone)
Brand Name: Cortone Acetate

Medically reviewed on Jun 7, 2018

What is cortisone?

See also: Otezla

Cortisone is a steroid that prevents the release of substances in the body that cause inflammation.

Cortisone is used to treat many different conditions such as allergic disorders, skin conditions, ulcerative colitis, arthritis, lupus, psoriasis, or breathing disorders.

Cortisone may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to cortisone, or if you have a fungal infection anywhere in your body.

Before taking cortisone, tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions, and about all other medicines you are using. There are many other diseases that can be affected by steroid use, and many other medicines that can interact with steroids.

Your dosage needs may change if you have surgery, are ill, are under stress, or have a fever or infection. Do not change your medication dose or schedule without your doctor's advice. Tell your doctor about any illness or infection you have had within the past several weeks.

Avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Call your doctor for preventive treatment if you are exposed to chicken pox or measles. These conditions can be serious or even fatal in people who are using a steroid.

Do not receive a "live" vaccine while using cortisone. The vaccine may not work as well during this time, and may not fully protect you from disease.

Do not stop using cortisone suddenly, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Talk to your doctor about how to avoid withdrawal symptoms when stopping the medication.

Wear a medical alert tag or carry an ID card stating that you take cortisone. Any medical care provider who treats you should know that you take steroid medication.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to cortisone, or if you have a fungal infection anywhere in your body.

Steroid medication can weaken your immune system, making it easier for you to get an infection. Steroids can also worsen an infection you already have, or reactivate an infection you recently had. Before taking this medication, tell your doctor about any illness or infection you have had within the past several weeks.

To make sure you can safely take cortisone, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

It is not known whether cortisone will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication.

Cortisone can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are using cortisone.

Steroids can affect growth in children. Talk with your doctor if you think your child is not growing at a normal rate while using this medication.

How should I take cortisone?

Take exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results.

Your dosage needs may change if you have surgery, are ill, are under stress, or have a fever or infection. Do not change your medication dose or schedule without your doctor's advice. Tell your doctor about any illness or infection you have had within the past several weeks.

This medication can cause unusual results with certain medical tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using cortisone.

Do not stop using cortisone suddenly, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Talk to your doctor about how to avoid withdrawal symptoms when stopping the medication.

Wear a medical alert tag or carry an ID card stating that you take cortisone. Any medical care provider who treats you should know that you take steroid medication.

Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

An overdose of cortisone is not expected to produce life threatening symptoms. However, long term use of high steroid doses can lead to symptoms such as thinning skin, easy bruising, changes in the shape or location of body fat (especially in your face, neck, back, and waist), increased acne or facial hair, menstrual problems, impotence, or loss of interest in sex.

What should I avoid while taking cortisone?

Avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Call your doctor for preventive treatment if you are exposed to chicken pox or measles. These conditions can be serious or even fatal in people who are using a steroid.

Do not receive a "live" vaccine while using cortisone. The vaccine may not work as well during this time, and may not fully protect you from disease. Live vaccines include measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), oral polio, rotavirus, smallpox, typhoid, yellow fever, varicella (chickenpox), H1N1 influenza, and nasal flu vaccine.

Avoid drinking alcohol while you are taking cortisone.

Cortisone side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • problems with your vision;

  • swelling, rapid weight gain, feeling short of breath;

  • severe depression, unusual thoughts or behavior, seizure (convulsions);

  • bloody or tarry stools, coughing up blood;

  • pancreatitis (severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, nausea and vomiting, fast heart rate);

  • low potassium (confusion, uneven heart rate, extreme thirst, increased urination, leg discomfort, muscle weakness or limp feeling); or

  • dangerously high blood pressure (severe headache, blurred vision, buzzing in your ears, anxiety, confusion, chest pain, shortness of breath, uneven heartbeats, seizure).

Less serious side effects may include:

  • sleep problems (insomnia), mood changes;

  • acne, dry skin, thinning skin, bruising or discoloration;

  • slow wound healing;

  • increased sweating;

  • headache, dizziness, spinning sensation;

  • nausea, stomach pain, bloating; or

  • changes in the shape or location of body fat (especially in your arms, legs, face, neck, breasts, and waist).

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect cortisone?

Many drugs can interact with cortisone. Below is just a partial list. Tell your doctor if you are using:

This list is not complete and there are many other drugs that can interact with cortisone. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor. Keep a list of all your medicines and show it to any healthcare provider who treats you.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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