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Hydrocortisone 0.5%
and 1.0% ointment
Read all of this leaflet carefully before
you start using this medicine.
• Keep this leaflet. You may need to read
it again.
• If you have any further questions, ask
your doctor or pharmacist.
• This medicine has been prescribed for
you. Do not pass it on to others. It may
harm them, even if their symptoms are
the same as yours.

1 What Hydrocortisone ointment
is and what it is used for
2 Before you use
3 How to use
4 Possible side effects
5 How to store
6 Further information
1 What Hydrocortisone ointment

is and what it is used for

Hydrocortisone belongs to a group of
medicines called topical corticosteroids.
These work by calming the inflammation
that occurs during certain skin conditions
or reactions.
Hydrocortisone ointment may be used for
treating various skin conditions including:
• eczema
• dermatitis, including intertrigo (irritation
between skin folds)
• insect bite reactions
• inflammation of the external ear (otitis
• prurigo nodularis- a long term skin
condition where very itchy lumps appear
• neurodermatoses- a long term skin
condition where itchy skin becomes thick
due to scratching
• nappy rash, if there is either no infection or
the infection is being treated by antibiotics.

2 Before you use
Do not use Hydrocortisone ointment
and tell your doctor if you:

• are allergic (hypersensitive) to
hydrocortisone or any of the other
ingredients (see section 6)

• are suffering from skin conditions caused
by infections, which are not being treated
with appropriate antibiotics, including
impetigo, cold sores, chicken pox, herpes,
ringworm, athlete’s foot or thrush
• have the scabies mite
• have rosacea (flushing of the skin on the
face) or dermatitis around the mouth

Check with your doctor or
pharmacist before using Hydrocortisone

ointment if you:
• are treating a child as long term use in
children is not recommended. Do not use
under a nappy or airtight dressing for more
than five to seven days
• are applying the ointment to the face,
particularly around the eyes. Do not use
the ointment for longer than your doctor
has advised
• have a skin infection. If the condition
appears to be getting worse despite using
antibiotics prescribed, stop using the
ointment and contact your doctor
• suffer with psoriasis.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to
become pregnant, or are breast-feeding.
If you become pregnant whilst using
hydrocortisone ointment, tell your doctor

3 How to use

Always use Hydrocortisone ointment exactly
as your doctor has told you. If you are not
sure, check with your doctor or pharmacist.
For application to the skin.
• Adults - gently apply a thin layer of
ointment to the affected area(s) two or
three times a day.
• Children and infants - gently apply a thin
layer of ointment to the affected area(s)
two or three times a day. Avoid using for
more than five to seven days at a time.

Continued over page

If you use more Hydrocortisone
ointment than you should

• Do not use the ointment more often or for
longer than your doctor tells you to.
• Do not use larger quantities than as
directed, as this will increase the possibility
of side effects.
• If you accidentally use too much on a few
occasions do not worry.
• If you accidentally swallow some ointment,
small amounts are not harmful.

If you forget to use Hydrocortisone

If you forget to use the ointment, apply it
as soon as you remember, unless it is nearly
time to apply the next dose.

4 Possible side effects

Like all medicines, Hydrocortisone
ointment can cause side effects, although
not everybody gets them. Please tell your
doctor or pharmacist if you notice any of the
following effects or any effects not listed.
Stop using Hydrocortisone ointment and
contact your doctor at once if the following
allergic reaction happens swelling of the face,
lips, tongue or throat, or difficulty breathing
or swallowing.
This is a very serious but rare side effect.
You may need urgent medical attention or
Tell your doctor if you notice any of the
following side effects or notice any other
effects not listed:
• a change in the colour of skin, or increased
growth of hair in areas where the ointment
is used
• contact dermatitis – localised rash or
irritation to the skin
Using more than the correct amount of
ointment may:
• thin the skin so it damages easily
• allow the active ingredient to pass through
the skin and affect other parts of the body
(such as suppression of the hypothalamic
pituitary adrenal axis showing symptoms
such as amenorrhea (stopped periods),
infertility, impotence in adults or slowed
growth in children), especially in infants
and children, if used under a nappy or
airtight dressing and during pregnancy.

Continued top of next column

If you feel unwell or have any unusual
discomfort you do not understand, contact
your doctor as soon as possible.

5 How to store

Keep out of the reach and sight of children.
Store in a cool place. Avoid freezing.
Do not use Hydrocortisone ointment after
the expiry date stated on the label/carton/
bottle. The expiry date refers to the last day
of that month.
Medicines should not be disposed of via
wastewater or household waste. Ask your
pharmacist how to dispose of medicines no
longer required. These measures will help to
protect the environment.

6 Further information
What Hydrocortisone ointment

• The active substance (the ingredient
that makes the ointment work) is
hydrocortisone. Each ointment contains
either 0.5% w/w or 1% w/w of the active
• The other ingredient is paraffin.

What Hydrocortisone ointment
looks like and contents of the pack
Hydrocortisone ointment is white.
Pack sizes of 15g, 30g and 50g.

Marketing Authorisation Holder and
Actavis, Barnstaple, EX32 8NS, UK.
This leaflet was last revised in January 2012

If you would like a
leaflet with larger text,
please contact
01271 311257.

More information on managing skin conditions
may be obtained from:
National Eczema Society or the Skin Care
Campaign, Hill House, Highgate Hill,
London N19 5NA

Actavis, Barnstaple, EX32 8NS, UK

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Further information

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