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Addison's Disease Message Board


Addison's Disease Board Index


Cortef
Jan 17, 2007
For those taking Cortef, hear is some good info.

What are hydrocortisone tablets? (Back to top)
HYDROCORTISONE (Cortef®, Hydrocortone®) is a corticosteroid. It helps to reduce swelling, redness, itching, and allergic reactions. Hydrocortisone is similar to natural steroid hormone produced by the adrenal gland. Hydrocortisone treats severe allergies, skin problems, asthma, arthritis, or many other conditions. Generic hydrocortisone tablets are available.

What should my health care professional know before I take hydrocortisone? (Back to top)
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
•blood clotting disorder
•Cushing's syndrome
•diabetes
•high blood pressure
•infection, including chicken-pox, herpes, measles, or tuberculosis
•liver disease
•myasthenia gravis
•osteoporosis
•previous heart attack
•psychosis
•seizures (convulsions)
•stomach or intestinal disease
•under-active thyroid
•an unusual or allergic reaction to hydrocortisone, corticosteroids, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
•pregnant or trying to get pregnant
•breast-feeding

How should I take this medicine? (Back to top)
Take hydrocortisone tablets by mouth. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Swallow the tablets with a drink of water. Take with milk or food to avoid stomach upset. If you are only taking hydrocortisone once a day, take it in the morning, which is the time your body normally secretes cortisol. Take your doses at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed. Do not stop taking hydrocortisone except on your prescriber's advice.

Contact your pediatrician or health care professional regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What if I miss a dose? (Back to top)
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, consult your prescriber or health care professional. You may need to miss a dose or take a double dose, depending on your condition and treatment. Do not take double or extra doses without advice.

What drug(s) may interact with hydrocortisone? (Back to top)
•antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen)
•aspirin
•barbiturate medicines for inducing sleep or treating seizures (convulsions)
•bosentan
•calcium supplements
•carbamazepine
•female hormones, including contraceptive or birth control pills
•heart medicines
•medicines for diabetes
•medicines that improve muscle strength or tone for conditions like myasthenia gravis
•phenytoin
•rifampin
•toxoids and vaccines
•water pills

Tell your prescriber or health care professional about all other medicines you are taking, including non-prescription medicines, nutritional supplements, or herbal products. Also tell your prescriber or health care professional if you are a frequent user of drinks with caffeine or alcohol, if you smoke, or if you use illegal drugs. These may affect the way your medicine works. Check with your health care professional before stopping or starting any of your medicines.

What side effects may I notice from taking hydrocortisone? (Back to top)
Some side effects can be reduced by taking single daily doses in the morning. Check with your prescriber or health care professional to determine the best schedule for your condition.
Side effects that you should report to your prescriber or health care professional as soon as possible:
•bloody or black, tarry stools
•confusion, excitement, restlessness, a false sense of well-being
•eye pain, decreased or blurred vision, or bulging eyes
•fever, sore throat, sneezing, cough, or other signs of infection
•frequent passing of urine
•hallucinations (seeing and hearing things that are not really there)
•increased thirst
•irregular heartbeat
•menstrual problems
•mental depression, mood swings, mistaken feelings of self-importance, mistaken feelings of being mistreated
•muscle cramps or muscle weakness
•nausea, vomiting
•pain in hips, back, ribs, arms, shoulders, or legs
•rounding out of face
•skin problems, acne
•stomach pain
•swelling of feet or lower legs
•unusual bruising or red pinpoint spots on the skin
•unusual tiredness or weakness
•weight gain or weight loss
•wounds that will not heal

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your prescriber or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):
•diarrhea or constipation
•change in taste
•headache
•increased appetite or loss of appetite
•increased sweating
•nervousness, restlessness, or difficulty sleeping
•unusual increased growth of hair on the face or body
•upset stomach

What should I watch for while taking hydrocortisone? (Back to top)
Visit your prescriber or health care professional for regular checks on your progress. If you are taking corticosteroids for a long time, carry an identification card with your name, the type and dose of corticosteroid, and your prescriber's name and address. Do not suddenly stop taking hydrocortisone. You may need to gradually reduce the dose, so that your body can adjust. Follow the advice of your prescriber or health care professional.

If you take corticosteroids for a long time, avoid contact with people who have an infection. You may be at an increased risk from infection while taking hydrocortisone. Tell your prescriber or health care professional if you are exposed to anyone with measles or chickenpox, or if you develop sores or blisters that do not heal properly.

People who are taking certain dosages of hydrocortisone may need to avoid immunization with certain vaccines or may need to have changes in their vaccination schedules to ensure adequate protection from certain diseases. Make sure to tell your prescriber or health care professional that you are taking hydrocortisone before receiving any vaccine.

If you are diabetic, hydrocortisone can affect your blood sugar. Check with your prescriber or health care professional if you need help adjusting the dose of your diabetic medicine.

If you take hydrocortisone tablets every day, you may need to watch your diet. Your body can also lose potassium while you take this medicine. Ask your prescriber or health care professional about your diet, especially about your salt intake.

If you are going to have surgery tell your prescriber or health care professional that you are taking hydrocortisone, or have taken it within the last 12 months.

Alcohol can increase the risk of getting serious side effects while you are taking hydrocortisone. Avoid alcoholic drinks.

Elderly patients have an increased risk of side effects from hydrocortisone.

Hydrocortisone can interfere with certain lab tests and can cause false skin test results.





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