What is this medication?
CORTISONE (KOR ti sone) treats many conditions such as asthma, allergic reactions, arthritis, inflammatory bowel diseases, adrenal, and blood or bone marrow disorders. It works by decreasing inflammation, slowing down an overactive immune system, or replacing cortisol normally made in the body. Cortisol is a hormone that plays an important role in how the body responds to stress, illness, and injury. It belongs to a group of medications called steroids.
This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.
COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Cortone
What should I tell my care team before I take this medication?
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
- Cushing syndrome
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Infection, such as tuberculosis (TB) or other bacterial, fungal, or viral infections
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Mental health conditions
- Myasthenia gravis
- Stomach or intestine problems
- Thyroid disease
- An unusual or allergic reaction to cortisone, other medications, foods, dyes, or preservatives
- Pregnant or trying to get pregnant
How should I use this medication?
Take this medication by mouth with water. Take it as directed on the prescription label at the same time every day. Take it with food. Keep taking it unless your care team tells you to stop. Stopping it too quickly can cause serious side effects.
Talk to your care team about the use of this medication in children. While it may be prescribed to children for selected conditions, precautions do apply.
Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.
NOTE: This medicine is only for you. Do not share this medicine with others.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.
What may interact with this medication?
Do not take this medication with any of the following:
- Live virus vaccines
This medication may also interact with the following:
- Aspirin and aspirin-like medications
- NSAIDs, medications for pain and inflammation, such as ibuprofen or naproxen
This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.
What should I watch for while using this medication?
Visit your care team for regular checks on your progress. Tell your care team if your symptoms do not start to get better or if they get worse.
This medication may increase your risk of getting an infection. Call your care team for advice if you get a fever, chills, sore throat, or other symptoms of a cold or flu. Do not treat yourself. Try to avoid being around people who are sick. If you have not had the measles or chickenpox vaccines, tell your care team right away if you are around someone with these viruses.
If you are going to need surgery or other procedure, tell your care team that you are using this medication.
You may need to be on a special diet while you are taking this medication. Ask your care team. Also, find out how many glasses of fluids you need to drink each day.
This medication may increase blood sugar. The risk may be higher in patients who already have diabetes. Ask your care team what you can do to lower your risk of diabetes while taking this medication.
What side effects may I notice from receiving this medication?
Side effects that you should report to your care team as soon as possible:
- Allergic reactions—skin rash, itching, hives, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
- Cushing syndrome—increased fat around the midsection, upper back, neck, or face, pink or purple stretch marks on the skin, thinning, fragile skin that easily bruises, unexpected hair growth
- High blood sugar (hyperglycemia)—increased thirst or amount of urine, unusual weakness or fatigue, blurry vision
- Increase in blood pressure
- Infection—fever, chills, cough, sore throat, wounds that don't heal, pain or trouble when passing urine, general feeling of discomfort or being unwell
- Low adrenal gland function—nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, unusual weakness or fatigue, dizziness
- Mood and behavior changes—anxiety, nervousness, confusion, hallucinations, irritability, hostility, thoughts of suicide or self-harm, worsening mood, feelings of depression
- Stomach bleeding—bloody or black, tar-like stools, vomiting blood or brown material that looks like coffee grounds
- Swelling of the ankles, hands, or feet
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your care team if they continue or are bothersome):
- General discomfort and fatigue
- Increase in appetite
- Trouble sleeping
- Weight gain
This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Where should I keep my medication?
Keep out of the reach of children and pets.
Store at room temperature between 20 and 25 degrees C (68 and 77 degrees F). Get rid of any unused medication after the expiration date.
To get rid of medications that are no longer needed or have expired:
- Take the medication to a medication take-back program. Check with your pharmacy or law enforcement to find a location.
- If you cannot return the medication, check the label or package insert to see if the medication should be thrown out in the garbage or flushed down the toilet. If you are not sure, ask your care team. If it is safe to put it in the trash, take the medication out of the container. Mix the medication with cat litter, dirt, coffee grounds, or other unwanted substance. Seal the mixture in a bag or container. Put it in the trash.
NOTE: This sheet is a summary. It may not cover all possible information. If you have questions about this medicine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider.
Additional Information From Chemocare.com About Cortisone
- If you are on Cortisone for a long period of time, you may be more susceptible to infection. Wash your hands well, and report any symptoms of infection to your healthcare provider if noted.
- If you are given eye drops or eye ointment: You may be more sensitive to the light. Wearing sunglasses may help. It is normal to notice a little blurriness for a short time after the drops or ointment are placed in your eyes. Notify your healthcare provider with any changes in vision, blurriness, or eye pain.
- If you are given eye drops or eye ointment: Ask your healthcare provider if you may wear contact lenses. Contact lenses may absorb the medication. Wash your hands well before putting eye drops, to decrease the chance of a bacterial infection in your eyes.
- If you are hydrocortisone as a lotion (topical) to treat skin disorders: Do not apply to open areas of skin, or if you have open or weeping sores. Topical hydrocortisone should not be used for a long time. Discuss this with your healthcare provider.
- Certain brands of hydrocortisone can be applied to the rectal area to treat hemorrhoids, or local inflammation, either by a suppository of ointment. Make sure that the preparation that you are using was made specifically for the rectal area.
- In a pill form: Take Cortisone with food to lessen an upset stomach. Also take Cortisone early on in the day (before 12:00 noon, if possible), so you will be able to sleep better at night.
- If you have diabetes, Cortisone may increase your blood sugar levels. Notify your healthcare provider that you are diabetic. You may need close monitoring. Drink 2 to 3 quarts of fluid every 24 hours, unless you were told to restrict your fluid intake, and maintain good nutrition.
- To reduce nausea, take anti-nausea medications as prescribed by your doctor, and eat small, frequent meals.
- In general, drinking alcoholic beverages should be avoided. You should also limit caffeine intake (colas, tea, coffee and chocolate, especially). These beverages may irritate your stomach.
- If you experience symptoms or side effects, especially if severe, be sure to discuss them with your health care team. They can prescribe medications and/or offer other suggestions that are effective in managing such problems.
When To Contact Your Doctor or Health Care Provider:
Contact your health care provider immediately, day or night, if you should experience any of the following symptoms:
- Fever of 100.4° F (38° C), chills (possible signs of infection)
- If you feel an irregular or fast heartbeat, shortness of breath, or chest or jaw pain, seek emergency help and notify your healthcare provider.
- If you become suddenly confused
The following symptoms require medical attention, but are not emergency situations. Contact your health care provider within 24 hours of noticing any of the following:
- Extreme fatigue (unable to carry on self-care activities)
- Any unusual bleeding or bruising
- Black or tarry stools, or blood in your stools or urine
- Nausea (interferes with ability to eat and unrelieved with prescribed medications)
- Vomiting (vomiting more than 4-5 times in a 24-hour period)
- Dizziness or lightheadedness, feeling faint
- Persistent headache
- Severe hot flashes or mood swings
- Inability to sleep (insomnia)
- Severe skeletal (bone) pain
- Difficult or painful urination; increased urination, or severe thirst
- Changes in vision, blurred vision, eye pain, enlarged pupils, discharge
- Any new rashes or changes in your skin
- Swelling of the feet or ankles. Sudden weight gain (greater than 3 pounds a week)
- Swelling, redness and/or pain in one leg or arm and not the other
Always inform your health care provider if you experience any unusual symptoms.