Hydrocortisone

Hydrocortisone is a synthetic corticosteroid drug which may be given by injection or by topical application. Corticosteroids are medicines used for reducing inflammation. Inflammation of the skin happens due to irritation of the skin, and is caused by the release of various substances that are important in the immune system. These substances cause blood vessels to widen, resulting in the irritated area becoming red, swollen, itchy and painful.

Hydrocortisone is one of the steroid hormones produced by the adrenal gland (adrenal cortex) which plays a complex role in regulating body functions and without which survival would not be possible. Hydrocortisone Tablets are taken as a replacement for the natural hormone where this is deficient either because there is a primary failure (or insufficiency) of Hydrocortisone production by the adrenal cortex gland (Addison’s Disease) or adrenal failure (or insufficiency) results from a pituitary deficiency of ACTH (the hormone that stimulates production of Hydrocortisone by the adrenal gland). Replacement therapy is also required for people who have a congenital adrenal hyperplasia (a birth defect) or in cases where surgical removal of the gland (adrenalectomy) has been performed.

When hydrocortisone is applied to the skin it works by acting inside the skin cells to decrease the release of these inflammatory substances. This reduces swelling, redness and itch. Hydrocortisone is a mild corticosteroid that is applied to the skin to treat a wide variety of inflammatory skin disorders, such as eczema.

It is given by injection in the treatment of severe allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis and angioedema, in place of prednisolone in patients who need steroid treatment but cannot take oral medication, and peri-operatively in patients on long-term steroid treatment to prevent an Addisonian crisis. It is given by topical application for its anti-inflammatory effect in allergic rashes, eczema and certain other inflammatory conditions.

Hydrocortisone is used to treat a wide range of disorders such as asthma and arthritis. In gastroenterology, it is effective in the treatment of several inflammatory conditions such as ulcerative and microscopic colitis, Crohn's disease and autoimmune hepatitis. Hydrocortisone reduces swelling and decreases the body's immune response. Hydrocortisone is used to treat many different conditions. It is used to treat endocrine (hormonal) disorders when the body does not produce enough of its own steroids. It is also used to treat many immune and allergic disorders, such as arthritis, lupus, severe psoriasis, severe asthma, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn's disease. Hydrocortisone may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.