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Note: This document contains side effect information about hydrocortisone. Some of the dosage forms listed on this page may not apply to the brand name Cortifoam.
Applies to hydrocortisone: oral tablet
Other dosage forms:
Along with its needed effects, hydrocortisone (the active ingredient contained in Cortifoam) 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 while taking hydrocortisone:
Incidence not known
Some side effects of hydrocortisone 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:
Incidence not known
Applies to hydrocortisone: compounding powder, injectable powder for injection, injectable solution, injectable suspension, oral suspension, oral tablet, rectal foam with applicator, rectal suspension
Corticosteroid side effects/complications are primarily dose and duration dependent; adverse effects are infrequent with physiologic or lower pharmacologic dosages. Short-term effects have included sodium retention-related weight gain and fluid accumulation, hyperglycemia/glucose intolerance, hypokalemia, and psychic disturbances. Long-term effects have included hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal activity suppression, Cushingoid appearance, hirsutism, impotence, menstrual irregularities, peptic ulcer disease, cataracts and increased intraocular pressure/glaucoma, myopathy, osteoporosis, and vertebral compression fractures.
Frequency not reported: Bradycardia, cardiac arrest, cardia arrhythmias, cardiac enlargement, circulatory collapse, fat embolism, hypertension, congestive heart failure, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in premature infants, myocardial rupture following recent myocardial infarction, thrombophlebitis, vasculitis, syncope, tachycardia, thromboembolism, thrombophlebitis, vasculitis, necrotising angiitis
Frequency not reported: Hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal activity has been suppressed up to 12 months following long-term corticosteroid administration, Cushingoid appearance with chronic therapy, hirsutism, virilism, impotence, menstrual irregularities, hypertrichosis, moon face, latent hyperparathyroidism, hypoparathyroidism
An antagonism occurs between the parathyroids and hypercorticism. Latent hyperparathyroidism may be unmasked by administration of corticosteroids; hypoparathyroidism may be manifest by phosphate retention occurring in renal failure caused by adrenal insufficiency.
Frequency not reported: Gastrointestinal upset, nausea, vomiting, peptic ulcer disease, pancreatitis, ulcerative esophagitis, abdominal distention, gastrointestinal perforation and hemorrhage, esophageal candidiasis
Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Hypernatremia
Frequency not reported: Decreased glucose tolerance, hyperglycemia, hypokalemia, fluid retention, negative nitrogen balance due to protein catabolism, increased blood urea nitrogen concentration, sodium retention, hypokalemic alkalosis, increased appetite, weight gain, hypertriglyceridemia
Aseptic necrosis has been reported most often to affect the femoral head. Corticosteroid myopathy has presented as weakness and wasting of the proximal limb and girdle muscles and generally has been reversible following cessation of therapy.
Corticosteroids inhibit intestinal absorption and increase urinary excretion of calcium leading to bone resorption and bone loss. Postmenopausal females are at risk of loss of bone density. Sixteen percent of elderly patients treated with corticosteroids for 5 years may experience vertebral compression fractures.
Frequency not reported: Steroid myopathy, muscle weakness, loss of muscle mass, osteoporosis, vertebral compression fractures, tendon rupture (particularly the Achilles tendon), aseptic necrosis of bone, growth suppression in pediatric patients, Charcot-like arthropathy, post-injection flare (intra-articular use), osteonecrosis
Frequency not reported: Impairment in cell-mediated immunity, increased susceptibility to bacterial, viral, fungal and parasitic infections, immunosuppression, opportunistic infections from mild to fatal, reactivation of tuberculosis
Increases in serum transaminases and alkaline phosphatase have been observed with corticosteroid therapy; these laboratory changes are generally small, not associated with clinical symptoms, and are reversible upon discontinuation.
Frequency not reported: Reversible increases in serum transaminase and alkaline phosphatase concentrations, hepatomegaly
Corticosteroid therapy has been associated with a total increase in WBC; with an increase in neutrophils and a decrease in monocytes, lymphocytes, and eosinophils.
Frequency not reported: Leukocytosis
Frequency not reported: Increased ease in bruising, ecchymosis, petechiae, delayed wound healing, acne, thin fragile skin, facial erythema, increased sweating, suppress reaction to skin testing, allergic dermatitis, burning or tingling in the perineal area after IV injection, cutaneous and subcutaneous atrophy, edema, hyperpigmentation, hypopigmentation, erythema, sterile abscess, striae, thinning scalp hair, urticaria
Frequency not reported: Increased intraocular pressure, glaucoma, posterior subcapsular cataracts, exophthalmos, central serous chorioretinopathy, corneal or scleral thinning, exacerbation of ophthalmic viral disease
In adults, the incidence of severe psychic reactions has been estimated to be around 5% to 6%. Psychological effects have been reported on withdrawal of corticosteroids, although the incidence is unknown.
Frequency not reported: Psychoses, personality or behavioral changes, depression, emotional instability, euphoria, insomnia, mood swings, personality changes, psychic disorders, exacerbation of preexisting affect lability or psychotic behavior
Case reports of hypersensitivity reactions to corticosteroids have been relatively uncommon. Side effects have included bronchospasm, shock, urticaria, and angioedema. Cross-reactivity between aspirin and hydrocortisone (the active ingredient contained in Cortifoam) in patients with aspirin-sensitive respiratory disease has been suggested as the mechanism in patients with asthma, however data are controversial. Anaphylaxis has been most frequently associated with rapid injection or infusion of a high dose of corticosteroid. Reactions may be mediated by an immune or nonimmune mechanism.
Bronchospasm after intravenous hydrocortisone has been reported in some patients with aspirin-sensitive respiratory disease. A challenge study with oral aspirin followed with 100 mg hydrocortisone (IV) resulted in respiratory reactions to aspirin in 45 of 53 patients. These 45 patients then received a hydrocortisone challenge. No naso-ocular, dermal, or respiratory reactions were noted in 44 of 45 patients administered hydrocortisone. One aspirin-sensitive patient experienced bronchospasm and naso-ocular reactions to hydrocortisone and naso-ocular with minimal bronchospasm with methylprednisolone. Following aspirin desensitization and while on maintenance aspirin therapy, this patient again reacted with similar symptoms to hydrocortisone.
Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Hypersensitivity reaction (enema)
Frequency not reported: Anaphylaxis, anaphylactoid reaction, angioedema
Frequency not reported: Vertigo, abnormal fat deposits, malaise
Frequency not reported: Glycosuria, increased or decreased motility and number of spermatozoa
Frequency not reported: Convulsions, increased intracranial pressure with papilledema/pseudo-tumor cerebri (usually occurs after treatment), headache, neuritis, neuropathy, paresthesia, arachnoiditis, meningitis, paraparesis/paraplegia, sensory disturbances, epidural lipomatosis
Paresthesia, arachnoiditis, meningitis, paraparesis/paraplegia, and sensory disturbances have occurred after intrathecal administration. Intrathecal use is contraindicated and epidural administration is not recommended due to the occurrence of serious adverse events having been associated with these routes of administration.
Frequency not reported: Kaposi's sarcoma
Frequency not reported: Pulmonary edema, hiccups
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