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Cortisone Side Effects

For the Consumer

Applies to cortisone: oral tablets

Side effects include:

Associated with long-term therapy: bone loss, cataracts, indigestion, muscle weakness, back pain, bruising, oral candidiasis. (See Warnings/Precautions under Cautions.)

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to cortisone: compounding powder, injectable suspension, oral tablet


Cardiovascular side effects including myocardial rupture following recent myocardial infarction, fluid retention, sodium retention, congestive heart failure, potassium loss, hypokalemic alkalosis, and hypertension have been reported with cortisone therapy.[Ref]


Gastrointestinal side effects including peptic ulcer with potential perforation and hemorrhage, perforation of small and large bowel, pancreatitis, abdominal distention, nausea, increased appetite, and ulcerative esophagitis have been reported.[Ref]


Musculoskeletal side effects including muscle weakness, steroid myopathy, loss of muscle mass, osteoporosis, vertebral compression fractures, aseptic necrosis of femoral and humoral heads, pathologic fracture of long bones, and tendon rupture have been reported.[Ref]


Psychiatric side effects including euphoria, insomnia, mood swings, personality changes, severe depression, and psychotic manifestations have been reported.[Ref]

Nervous system

Nervous system side effects including convulsions, increased intracranial pressure with papilledema, vertigo, myalgia, arthralgia, malaise, headache, and psychic disturbances have been reported.[Ref]


Endocrine side effects including development of cushingoid state, suppression of growth in children, and secondary adrenocortical and pituitary unresponsiveness have been reported.[Ref]


Ocular side effects including posterior subcapsular cataracts, increased intraocular pressure, glaucoma, and exophthalmos have been reported.[Ref]


Thromboembolism has rarely been reported.[Ref]


Increase/decrease in motility and number of spermatozoa in men and menstrual irregularities in women have been reported rarely.[Ref]


1. "Product Information. Cortone Acetate (cortisone)." Merck & Co, Inc, West Point, PA.

2. Jorgensen H, Stiris G "Hypertensive crisis followed by adrenocortical insufficiency after unilateral adrenal phlebography in a patient with Cushing's syndrome." Acta Med Scand 196 (1974): 141-3

Further information

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

Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.