Hydrocortisone cream 1 side effects


Topical hydrocortisone for eczema

This leaflet is about the use of hydrocortisone cream and ointment for the treatment of eczema. This is called topical treatment, meaning that is applied to the skin.

This leaflet has been written specifically about the use of this medicine in children. The information may differ from that provided by the manufacturer. Please read this leaflet carefully. Keep it somewhere safe so that you can read it again.

Name of drug


Brand names: Dioderm®, Mildison®

Why is it important for my child to take this medicine?

Hydrocortisone cream or ointment helps to reduce the inflammation of eczema and so will reduce the redness and itchiness of your child’s skin.

Your doctor will prescribe a short course of treatment. The cream/ointment should be applied regularly during this time.

What is hydrocortisone available as?

  • Ointment: 0.5%, 1%, 2.5%
  • Cream: 0.5%, 1%, 2.5%

When should I give hydrocortisone?

Hydrocortisone cream/ointment is usually applied once each day. This can be in the morning OR the evening.

Your doctor may suggest that you use the cream/ointment twice each day. This should be once in the morning and once in the evening. Ideally, these times are 10–12 hours apart, for example some time between 7 and 8 am, and between 7 and 8 pm.

Apply the cream/ointment at about the same time(s) each day so that this becomes part of your child’s daily routine, which will help you to remember.

Hydrocortisone should not be applied at the same time as other creams or ointments, such as your child’s usual moisturiser or emollient. Wait at least 10 minutes between applying hydrocortisone and any other product. Ideally, apply different products at different times of the day.

How much should I give?

Your doctor will work out the amount of hydrocortisone cream/ointment (the dose) that is right for your child. The dose will be shown on the medicine label.

It is important that you follow your doctor’s instructions about how much to give.

How should I use it?

  • Wash your hands before and after applying the cream or ointment.
  • Squeeze out the right length of cream or ointment against your finger. Spread it in a thin layer over the affected area until it has soaked in to the skin. Do not rub the cream/ointment hard into the skin as you may irritate the skin.
  • Apply the cream/ointment to all areas of skin with eczema. Do not apply it to skin that is not affected.

When should the medicine start working?

Your child’s skin should start to look better after you have been applying the cream/ointment for 3–7 days. You should continue to apply the cream regularly as directed by your doctor. If your child’s skin does not seem to be getting better, or seems worse, contact your doctor for advice.

What if my child is sick (vomits)?

You do not need to worry, as the cream/ointment will still work.

What if I forget to apply it?

If you usually apply it once a day in the morning

Apply the cream/ointment during the day when you remember, as long as this is at least 8 hours before the next application is due.

If you usually apply it once a day in the evening

You do not need to wake up a sleeping child up to apply the cream/ointment. You can apply it in the morning, as long as this is at least 8 hours before the evening application is due.

If you usually apply it twice a day

Apply the cream/ointment if you remember up to 4 hours after you should have done it. For example, if you usually apply the cream/ointment at 7 am, you can do it any time up to about 11 am. If you remember after that time, do not apply the missed dose. Wait until the next normal dose.

Do not apply the cream or ointment more than twice a day.

What if I use too much?

It is unlikely that you will do harm if you apply a little too much cream or ointment. If you worried that you may have used too much, or have used it too often, contact your doctor or
NHS Direct (0845 4647). Have the tube or packaging with you if you telephone for advice.

Are there any possible side-effects?

We use medicines to make our children better, but sometimes they have other effects that we don’t want (side-effects).

Your child is unlikely to get side-effects with hydrocortisone cream or ointment if you use it in the way that your doctor has told you to.

  • Your child’s skin may seem redder when you first start to apply the cream/ointment.
  • Your child may get spots on their skin.
  • The cream/ointment may spread an untreated infection and make it worse. If your child’s skin becomes redder, has white patches or weeps yellow fluid, it may be infected. Take your child to their doctor, as this will need treatment. Do not apply any more cream/ointment.
  • If the cream/ointment is used for a long period, there is a risk that the skin will become thinner, there may be some scarring and small blood vessels may become visible on the skin and areas of the skin may become darker.
  • Sometimes the skin becomes lighter in colour, but should go back to normal when the treatment is finished.

Can other medicines be given at the same time as hydrocortisone?

  • You can give your child medicines that contain paracetamol or ibuprofen, unless your doctor has told you not to.
  • Check with your doctor or pharmacist before giving any other medicines to your child. This includes herbal or complementary medicines.

Is there anything else I need to know about this medicine?

Hydrocortisone should not be applied at the same time as other creams or ointments, such as your child’s usual moisturiser or emollient. Wait at least 10 minutes between applying hydrocortisone and any other product. Ideally, apply different products at different times of the day.

  • Keep the hydrocortisone cream/ointment away from your child’s eyes.
  • Apply the cream/ointment to all areas of skin with eczema, not just to the worst-affected areas.
  • If you are applying cream/ointment to large areas of skin or to skin that is damaged, there is a slight risk that it will be absorbed into the body and may affect your child’s growth. If your child needs frequent courses of strong steroid creams, your doctor will check their growth.

If your child’s skin becomes redder and has white patches or yellow fluid weeping from it, the skin may have become infected. Take your child to their doctor, as the infection will need to be treated. Do not apply any more cream/ointment.

  • Steroid creams and ointments such as hydrocortisone are only used for short periods of time, especially if used on the face.
  • Wash your hands after applying the cream/ointment to your child’s skin.
  • The use of steroids in children receives a lot of bad press. However, use of steroid cream/ointment in eczema provides a lot of benefit, and is unlikely to cause any long-term harm as long as you use the cream/ointment as your doctor has told you to. If you are at all worried, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

General advice about medicines

  • Try to give the medicine at about the same times each day, to help you remember.
  • Only use this medicine for your child. Never give it to anyone else, even if their condition appears to be the same, as this could do harm.
  • If you think someone else may have used the medicine by accident, contact your doctor straight away.
  • Make sure that you always have enough medicine. Order a new prescription at least 2 weeks before you will run out.
  • Make sure that the medicine you have at home has not reached the ‘best before’ or ‘use by’ date on the packaging. Give old medicines to your pharmacist to dispose of.

Where should I keep this medicine?

  • Keep the medicine in a cupboard, away from heat and direct sunlight. It does not need to be kept in the fridge.
  • Make sure that children cannot see or reach the medicine.
  • Keep the medicine in the container it came in.

Who to contact for more information

Your doctor, pharmacist or nurse will be able to give you more information about hydrocortisone and about other medicines used to treat eczema.

NO! to Cortisone Creams

January 04, 2017

Hydrocortisone topical cream is commonly used as a steroidal medicine to relieve inflammation and other symptoms related to certain skin conditions (e.g. minor skin irritations, itching, and rashes caused by eczema, insect bites, poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac, soaps, detergents, cosmetics, and jewelry). Hydrocortisone is a steroid, which works by reducing redness, itching and inflammation. However, it is definitely not safe to use hydrocortisone creams, even over-the-counter cortisone products, as they have numerous side effects. Stinging, burning, irritation, dryness, or redness at the application site may occur. Acne, unusual hair growth, folliculitis, skin thinning/discolouration, or stretch marks may also occur.

So, what alternatives are there? Certain herbal creams may provide benefits similar to those of topical hydrocortisone without harmful side effects.


Chamomile may help to relieve inflammation and suppress an overactive immune response, similar to the function of topical hydrocortisone. A 1985 clinical trial in Germany found that chamomile cream was nearly as effective as 0.25-percent hydrocortisone cream, according to the University of Michigan Health System. Chamomile may help to relieve the burning or itching associated with dermatitis and improve healing for other inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema.


Calendula-based creams may relieve inflammation and control your immune response like topical hydrocortisone. A randomized clinical trial published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology in 2004 found that topical applications of calendula cream helped to reduce the risk of severe dermatitis from radiation therapy for breast cancer, according to the University of Michigan Health System.

Deserving Health All Purpose Balm contains the finest extracts of calendula and chamomile. It is indeed as effective in treating eczema, mild psoriasis, dermatitis and other skin disorders as hydrocortisone creams. It has proven efficiency as an antihistamine and anti-inflammatory. All Purpose Balm is superior to hydrocortisone and corticosteroids in that it produced no side effects and in most cases visibly healed the damage caused by prolonged hydrocortisone use.

Deserving Health Baby Specialty Cream protects the delicate skin of infants and children with pure herbal extracts of calendula and chamomile. It provides everything that a hydrocortisone cream provides except those side effects. Especially effective for diaper rash, eczema, rashes and hives, Natural Specialty Cream for infants and children calms irritated skin and helps speed healing.



Hydrocortisone is a steroid medication that treats inflammation in the body.

The drug comes in an oral form to take by mouth, and a topical form to apply to the skin. It’s available over-the-counter (OTC) and with a prescription for higher-strength formulations.

Oral hydrocortisone is typically used to treat certain forms of arthritis, allergies, skin disorders, blood disorders, asthma, kidney disorders, thyroid problems, autoimmune diseases, certain types of cancer, and intestinal problems.

It’s also used by some people whose adrenal glands do not produce the normal amount of hydrocortisone that’s made in the body.

Topical hydrocortisone is used to treat minor skin irritations, skin allergies, eczema, insect bites, poison ivy, poison oak, mouth sores, poison sumac, hemorrhoids, and other itching in certain parts of the body.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved hydrocortisone in 1952.

The drug is available under dozens of brand names (Anusol HC, Locoid, Westcort, etc.) and in combinations with other drugs (e.g., antibiotics such as neomycin).

Hydrocortisone for Acne

Applying topical hydrocortisone to acne lesions may reduce redness and inflammation. The medicine may also speed up recovery.

You can apply a small amount of cream directly to inflamed pimples or cysts. In some cases, doctors can inject hydrocortisone directly into pimples.

Hydrocortisone for Dogs

Hydrocortisone is not FDA-approved for use in pets, but under a veterinarian’s care, the drug may be used to relieve skin problems in dogs.

The medicine can be given orally or topically to relieve itchy skin. You should talk to your veterinarian about how to give your dog hydrocortisone.

Hydrocortisone Warnings

Oral Hydrocortisone

Before taking oral hydrocortisone, you should tell your doctor if you have or have ever had:

  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • A mental illness
  • An underactive thyroid gland
  • Osteoporosis
  • Herpes eye infection
  • Seizures
  • Malaria
  • Tuberculosis (TB)
  • Ulcers
  • Myasthenia gravis (a condition that causes muscles to weaken)
  • Intestinal disease
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure

You should also tell your physician if you have a fungal infection before taking this drug. Tell your doctor you are taking oral hydrocortisone before having any type of surgery, including dental procedures.

Be sure to keep all doctor and laboratory appointments while taking oral hydrocortisone. Children especially need to see their doctors regularly to check for slowed bone growth, which is a potential side effect of the drug.

Oral hydrocortisone may increase your risk of contracting certain illnesses. You should call your doctor if you are exposed to chicken pox, measles, or TB while using this drug.

Also, don’t have any type of vaccination or skin test while taking oral hydrocortisone unless your doctor tells you to do so.

You should report any signs of infection (fever, sore throat, muscle aches) to your doctor right away while taking oral hydrocortisone.

Call your doctor if your condition worsens while taking this medicine.

Oral hydrocortisone may increase your blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes, you should monitor your blood sugar carefully.

Don’t stop taking oral hydrocortisone without first talking with your doctor. If you stop taking the drug abruptly, you make experience unwanted side effects.

If you’ve taken large doses of hydrocortisone for a long period of time, your doctor will likely wean you off the medication gradually.

In case of emergency, you should carry an ID card or wear a medical alert bracelet to let others know you are taking a steroid.

Topical Hydrocortisone

Before taking topical hydrocortisone, tell your doctor if you have or have ever had:

  • Diabetes
  • Glaucoma
  • A circulation problem
  • Any immune disorder

You should also tell your doctor if you have an infection before using this medicine.

You should not use topical hydrocortisone on kids younger than 2 years old without talking to your doctor.

If you are using topical hydrocortisone without a prescription, and your condition doesn’t improve within seven days, stop taking it and call your doctor.

You should also contact your physician if your condition worsens while using hydrocortisone, or if redness, swelling, or oozing of pus occurs.

Avoid using topical hydrocortisone for long periods of time on the face; genital and rectal areas; and in the skin creases of the armpits unless your doctor tells you otherwise.

You shouldn’t use cosmetics on the treated area without talking to your doctor.

Pregnancy and Hydrocortisone

Hydrocortisone is an FDA Pregnancy Category C drug, which means it’s unknown how it will affect an unborn baby. This medicine should only be used when clearly needed during pregnancy.

You should tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant before taking hydrocortisone.

Hydrocortisone can also pass into breast milk and may harm a breastfeeding infant, so talk to your doctor before breastfeeding.

Prednisone Prescription Online

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Prednisone (Rayos) – Overview

Prednisone, marketed under the name Rayos, is a medication used in the management of a variety of medical conditions related to inflammation. Push Health can help people who need prednisone connect with a medical provider who can provide a prednisone prescription if it is appropriate to do so.

What Is Prednisone Used For?

Some people may have heard of prednisone but do not know what prednisone is used for. Prednisone belongs to a class of medications known as glucocorticoids and is a corticosteroid (steroid) medication. The active metabolite of prednisone, prednisolone, binds to glucocorticoid receptors and inhibits inflammatory cells and the expression of inflammatory chemicals. Prednisone is primarily used to reduce the amount of inflammation in the body in conditions such as asthma and COPD and suppress the immune system in conditions such as arthritis. Prednisone is similar to dexamethasone, hydrocortisone and methylprednisolone (Medrol Dosepak) in activity.

Prednisone – Dosage and Mechanism

Prednisone is converted into its active form, prednisolone, in the liver. After taken orally, prednisone has a half life of approximately 3 hours. Prednisone is metabolized by the liver and removed from the body via the urine and the bile.

Prednisone – Cost

Prednisone generic is considered an affordable medication at under thirty cents per pill at many pharmacies in the United States. Branded prednisone (Rayos) is much more expensive. In some cases, one’s insurance plan will cover the cost of prednisone from a pharmacy but it depends on why it has been prescribed and the insurance benefits. Prednisone coupons may also be available online.

Can I Buy Prednisone Online?

Prednisone is a prescription medication in the United States. One cannot just buy prednisone online legitimately without going through the appropriate prescribing process. Because it requires a prescription, prednisone OTC over-the-counter is not available at pharmacies in the US. Push Health can help people who need prednisone connect with a licensed medical provider who can prescribe prednisone when appropriate.

Prednisone – Side Effects

Prednisone, like other medications, can cause side effects. Prednisone side effects include bone loss, bruising, weight gain and swelling, aggressive behavior, high blood sugar and weakness. Prednisone withdrawal is another side effect of prednisone use and a prednisone taper needs to be done after a long period of use. Prednisone and alcohol do not mix well and alcohol should be avoided during use. People with a known hypersensitivity to prednisone or other steroid medications should not use the medication. Questions regarding the side effects related to prednisone use should be directed to one’s medical provider and pharmacist.

More Prednisone Information

Last updated November 18, 2019. Given the evolving nature of medicine and science, this information might not be accurate and should not be construed as medical advice or diagnosis / treatment recommendations. Please consult a licensed medical provider if you have additional questions.

Hydrocortisone tablets

Easy-to-read medicine information about hydrocortisone – what it is, how to take hydrocortisone safely and possible side effects.

Type of medicine Also called
  • Belongs to a group of medicines called corticosteroids
  • Hydrocortisone (Douglas)®

What is hydrocortisone?

Hydrocortisone is in a class of medicines known as corticosteroids, which is similar to the steroid hormones that your body naturally makes. Steroid hormones are essential for your body and if you do not have enough of them, you can become very unwell.

In people whose adrenal glands do not produce enough steroid hormones (such as cortisol), hydrocortisone is used as a replacement treatment. This can happen in conditions such as Addison’s disease or it can happen in people who have had surgery to remove their adrenal glands.


The usual dose is 10 to 30 milligrams daily, but the dose of hydrocortisone tablets will be different for different people.

Always take your hydrocortisone tablets exactly as your doctor has told you. The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much hydrocortisone to take, how often to take it, and any special instructions.

How to take hydrocortisone tablets

You will usually be prescribed your hydrocortisone as 2 or 3 doses each day. Usually, the morning dose is larger than the other doses.
Hydrocortisone is best taken immediately after a meal or a snack.

Try taking your hydrocortisone doses at the same time of day each day. If you forget to take your dose, take it as soon as you remember. But, if it is nearly time for your next dose, just take the next dose at the right time. Do not take double the dose.

Do not stop taking hydrocortisone suddenly unless told to by your doctor.

Special instructions

It is important to tell any health professional taking care of you that you are taking hydrocortisone.

Taking hydrocortisone can increase your risk of all types of infections. Tell your doctor if you come into contact with someone who has a contagious illness such as chickenpox or measles, or feel unwell.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or breastfeeding.

Possible side effects

Like all medicines, hydrocortisone can cause unwanted side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often unwanted side effects improve as your body gets used to the new medicine.

Side effects What should I do?
  • Signs of retaining fluid such as swollen feet and ankles
  • Weight gain
  • This is quite common when you start taking hydrocotisone
  • Whenever possible, sit with your feet up
  • Headache
  • Muscle weakness, feeling tired
  • These are quite common when you first start taking hydrocortisone, and usually go away with time.
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome.
  • Changes in mood or behaviour
  • Mood swings, irritability, anxiety, bad dreams
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring HealthLine 0800 611 116
  • Problems with your stomach such as stomach pain, blood in your stool, or dark coloured stool
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring HealthLine 0800 611 116

Learn more

The following link provides further information on hydrocortisone. Be aware that websites from other countries may contain information that differs from New Zealand recommendations.

Hydrocortisone tablets for cortisol replacement Patient Info, UK

Cortisone is a steroidal anti-inflammatory drug that possesses the same physiologic effects of naturally-occurring corticosteroids produced by the adrenal glands. It is a medication that is approved by the FDA for use in human patients, but not in dogs. However, veterinarians have been prescribing cortisone off-label to manage a variety of canine health conditions whereby inflammation is a major presenting symptom. While it may not be approved by the FDA for veterinary use, cortisone is one of those drugs that vets give to dogs with severe allergies compounded by pain and swelling. Because of its tendency to mimic the action of natural corticosteroids, it is best used under the supervision of a veterinary professional.


Cortisone for dogs is indicated for the following:

  • Treatment of inflammatory conditions

Cortisone is usually indicated in the management of inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, osteoarthritis, and other inflammatory conditions. It should be noted that cortisone doesn’t treat the actual cause of the inflammation. For instance, if it is the result of an infectious process only an antibiotic can help kill the organism that is causing the infection. Cortisone will address the resulting inflammation.

  • Suppression of immune response related to allergies

Allergies are mainly the result of a hyper-reactive immune system whereby even the most harmless substance entering the dog’s body is perceived as a threat. As such, the immune system mobilizes every single cell that it has to help get rid of the supposed ‘threat’. Sadly, this results in inflammatory changes. Cortisone can help by taming the response of the immune system so that it will not over-react to the presence of an ‘allergen’. It also works to reduce the inflammation as a result of the allergic reaction. This makes it an effective management protocol for severe itching, redness, and other manifestations of allergies in dogs.

  • Immunosuppression in autoimmune diseases

Autoimmune diseases are very much like allergies that the immune system over-reacts to even a harmless particle. The main difference is that in autoimmune disease the immune system actually targets or attacks a specific type of cell in the dog’s body. Cortisone can help in the management of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia, Pemphigus, Discoid Lupus Erythematosus, Immune-mediated Polyarthritis, and Immune-mediated Thrombocytopenia, among others. Cortisone acts by suppressing the immune system so that it will not attack normal cells.

  • Alleviation of pain and swelling

The process of inflammation always comes with swelling and pain as two of its 5 cardinal manifestations. Cortisone acts like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs except that it is actually a steroid. Nevertheless, it helps in the alleviation of pain and the reduction of swelling.

  • Adjunct to cancer treatment

Certain types of cancer have been shown to respond well to corticosteroid treatment. Cortisone inhibits the proliferation of lymphocytes which can help in the management of lymphomas as well as leukemias in dogs. It can also be used in the management of the side effects brought about by cancer chemotherapeutic agents.

Benefits of Cortisone in Dogs:

  • Relieves signs of inflammation fast
  • Alleviates pain, itching, and swelling
  • Promotes optimum canine comfort secondary to the reduction of inflammatory responses
  • Relieves symptoms of allergies

How Cortisone Works

Cortisone’s mechanism of action is closely related to the physiologic activities of naturally-occurring corticosteroids like cortisol. Generally, naturally-occurring cortisol plays an important role in cardiovascular, immunologic, homeostatic, and metabolic processes.

In the immune system, cortisone increases the expression of proteins that have anti-inflammatory properties. This is what helps in alleviating the various symptoms of inflammation. Additionally, it also reduces or inhibits the expression of proteins that are considered as proinflammatory in nature. Because it suppresses proinflammatory substances while promoting the activity of anti-inflammatory molecules, cortisone is considered one of the best when it comes to the management of inflammatory conditions.

Its immunosuppressant action is related to its ability to prevent the action of nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer. This effectively prevents the synthesis of immune response mediators such as cytokines as well as adhesion proteins. The inhibition of the nuclear factor dampens the immune system’s ability to effect an immune response. Cortisone also affects the proliferation of T lymphocytes, interleukins, and a host of other immune system cells.

Its anti-inflammatory action is attributed to its ability to induce the synthesis of lipocortin-1 which, in turn, suppresses that activity of phospholipase A2. This results in the temporary cessation of eicosanoid production leading to a reduction in phagocytosis, emigration, epithelial adhesion, chemotaxis, respiratory bursts, and many more. In short, cortisone inhibits the activities of leukotrienes and prostaglandins.

Potential Side Effects

While cortisone for dogs may be very effective in the management of inflammation, its effects on the immune system as well as other target organ systems of the body can lead to a variety of potentially serious side effects. This is especially true for its immunosuppressant activity whereby the immune system is effectively dampened from performing its optimum function. That being said, the main concern here is the risk of infections since a simple cold virus can turn deadly because of suppression of the immune system. Other side effects that you may want to know include the following:

  • Weight gain
  • Increased water consumption with increased thirst
  • Reduced energy level
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Frequent urination
  • Panting
  • Increased appetite
  • Edema

Dogs that are given cortisone for extended periods are at risk for developing the following side effects:

  • Cushing’s disease
  • Recurrent bladder infections that are resistant to treatment
  • Demodectic mange
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Muscle weakness
  • Thinning of the skin, ligaments, and bones
  • Fatty liver disease
  • Increased risk for diabetes mellitus
  • Pot-bellied appearance
  • Skin plaque formation

Things You Should Know about Cortisone

Cortisone is not approved by the FDA for use on dogs or any other animal. As such it should only be given under the strict guidance and supervision of a veterinarian. It is primarily indicated in the management of inflammation as well as allergies because of hyper-reactivity of the immune system.

What You Should Tell Your Vet before He Prescribes Cortisone

If your dog has poor liver function, cardiac problems, high blood pressure, liver disease, diabetes mellitus, systemic infections, or a compromised or weakened immune system, it is imperative that your vet knows about them so that other treatment options can be established. Most vets also don’t want to administer cortisone to pregnant or nursing dogs or even on puppies that are aged 6 months or less as the risks far outweigh any purported benefits.

How to Give Cortisone to Your Dog

It is important to understand that cortisone is a very powerful drug. And since it doesn’t have the approval of the FDA for veterinary use, it is critical to adhere to your veterinarian’s instructions.

Cortisone is available in many forms. Some come as topical applications which are preferred for skin allergies and other inflammatory conditions of the skin. Its side effects are less severe, too compared to systemic cortisone. Oral formulations in tablet or pill forms are also available and are generally considered to be a lot safer than injectable preparations. However, cortisone pills or tablets may require larger doses to exert their effects since they have to pass through the digestive tract. Severe allergies will benefit a lot from injectable cortisone as this has rapid action. Unfortunately, it also increases the risk of side effects.

When cortisone is given to your dog, your vet will often start with a relatively high dose of the drug. This is to quickly eliminate the problems that the drug is supposed to address. Over time the cortisone is halved. For instance, if it started with 100 micrograms for the first 5 days, it can be halved to 50 micrograms on days 6 to 10. On days 11 to 15, the dose can be halved further to 25 micrograms and so on. This is to prevent steroid withdrawal, although this is not usually a problem in topical formulations.

What to Do If You Miss a Dose

If you missed giving a cortisone dose to your dog, administer it at once as soon as you remember. However, if it’s already near or close to your dog’s next cortisone dose, leave the missed dose as is and just proceed with the next dose. Whatever you do, don’t ever make the mistake of doubling on your pet’s next scheduled dose.

What to Do in Case of Cortisone Overdose

If you double on the dose of cortisone simply because you missed a prior dose, there’s a chance that your pet might have overdose. This can be manifested as increased agitation, itchy skin, convulsions, extreme sleepiness, and high blood pressure. It is imperative that you seek veterinary consult immediately.

Some Drug Interactions

Cortisone for dogs should not be used in conjunction with aspirin, insulin, diuretics, ketoconazole, cyclosporine, warfarin, phenobarbital, and phenytoin. Any other medications, supplements, and nutraceuticals should be consulted with your vet prior to the administration of cortisone to minimize any untoward drug interactions.

Cortisone is a powerful anti-inflammatory drug that can address many health problems in dogs where the main issue is inflammation and overstimulation of the immune system. Unfortunately, it’s not FDA-approved; hence, it should always be used with caution and under the direct supervision of a veterinarian.

What is hydrocortisone topical?

Hydrocortisone is a low potency topical steroid used to treat inflammatory conditions or itchiness.

How is hydrocortisone given?

Hydrocortisone is administered topically in the form of a cream, shampoo, spray, wipe, ointment, lotion, gel, foam, or solution. Depending on the type of product that your veterinarian prescribes for your pet, application instructions will vary. Follow the specific directions that your veterinarian provides to you.

Wash your hands after administering or use gloves when applying products with hydrocortisone. Avoid contact with your pet’s eyes. Prevent your pet from licking or chewing the area of application for at least 20 to 30 minutes.

This medication should begin working within 1 to 2 hours after administration.

What if I miss giving my pet the medication?

If you miss a dose, give it when you remember, but if it is close to the time for the next dose, skip the dose you missed and give it at the next scheduled time, and return to the regular dosing schedule.

Never give your pet two doses at once or give extra doses.

Are there any potential side effects?

Possible side effects include a skin reaction at the site of application, and with long-term use, effects such as fragile skin, small skin bumps, and blackheads may occur. Hormone suppression may also occur, but is rare.

The effects of this medication may last for a few days, even after the medication has been discontinued.

Are there any risk factors for this medication?

Hydrocortisone topical should not be used in pregnant pets and those with skin tuberculosis.

Are there any drug interactions I should be aware of?

Hydrocortisone topical should not be used within two weeks of skin or blood allergy testing.

Be sure to tell your veterinarian about any medications (including vitamins, supplements, or herbal therapies) that your pet is taking.

Is there any monitoring that needs to be done with this medication?

There is no specific monitoring that needs to be done while your pet is taking this medication. Your veterinarian may monitor your pet to be sure that the medication is working.

How do I store hydrocortisone topical?

Depending on the product that your veterinarian prescribes for your pet, storage directions vary. Follow the directions on the bottle or those provided to you by your veterinarian.

What should I do in case of emergency?

If you suspect an overdose or an adverse reaction to the medication, call your veterinary office immediately. If they are not available, follow their directions in contacting an emergency facility.

Contributors: Rania Gollakner, BS, DVM © Copyright 2019 LifeLearn Inc. Used and/or modified with permission under license.


What is Prednisone?

Prednisone is a corticosteroid used to treat various inflammatory and allergy conditions as well as other diseases. Prednisone is sold per tablet and requires a prescription from your veterinarian.


Cats and Dogs


  • Treats a wide range of inflammatory and autoimmune conditions
  • Relieves itchy skin and swelling caused by allergies
  • Reduces redness, itching, and allergic reactions affecting the eyes
  • Sold per tablet

How does Prednisone work?

Prednisone is a corticosteroid, which suppresses the inflammatory response to a variety of agents. Prednisone can also be used as an immunosuppressive drug for organ transplants and in cases of adrenal insufficiency (Addison’s disease).


Without first talking to your veterinarian, don’t give your pet any over-the-counter or other prescription medications while giving Prednisone. There are possible side effects, including insomnia, nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, and fatigue. Tell your veterinarian if your pet has kidney or liver disease, heart disease, stomach ulcers, hypothyroidism, diabetes mellitus, or any other medical conditions. Keep this medication away from children and pets.

Brand Name:

Deltasone (Pharmacia), Sterapred (Merz)

Generic Name:

Prednisone (pred’-ni-zone)

What is the most important thing I should know about Prednisone:

Prednisone is a prescription medication that is used in dogs and cats. Prednisone is available as 1 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg, and 50 mg scored tablets. The usual dose for dogs and cats is determined based on the condition being treated and the pet’s response to treatment. Prednisone should not be stopped suddenly. There should be a gradual reduction in dosage before stopping. Prednisone should be taken with food to lessen stomach upset.

What should I discuss with my veterinarian before giving Prednisone to my pet?

Do not give Prednisone to your pet if the pet has a serious bacterial, viral or fungal infection. Prednisone weakens the pet’s immune response and its ability to fight infections. Tell your veterinarian if your pet has kidney or liver disease, heart disease, stomach ulcers, hypothyroidism, diabetes mellitus or any other medical conditions. Also tell your veterinarian if your pet is pregnant or lactating.

How should Prednisone be given?

Give this medication exactly as directed by your veterinarian. Do not give more or less than is prescribed by the veterinarian. If you do not understand the directions, ask your pharmacist or veterinarian to explain them to you. Keep plenty of water available for your pet. Prednisone should be given with food.

What are the potential side effects of Prednisone?

If any of the following serious side effects occur, stop giving Prednisone and seek emergency veterinary medical attention; an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; swelling of the lips, tongue or face; hives), increased blood pressure or sudden weight gain. Other less serious side effects may occur. Continue giving Prednisone and talk to your veterinarian if your pet experiences insomnia, nausea, vomiting or stomach upset, fatigue, muscle weakness or joint pain, problems with diabetes control or increased hunger or thirst. Other side effects that occur rarely, usually with high doses of Prednisone include thinning of the skin, cataracts, glaucoma, behavior changes. Other side effects may also occur. Talk to your veterinarian about any side effect that seems unusual or bothersome to your pet.

What happens if I miss giving a dose of Prednisone?

If you give one dose daily, give the missed dose as soon as remembered. However, if you don’t remember until the next day, skip the missed dose and give only the regular daily dose. If you give more than one dose daily, either give the missed dose as soon as remembered, or give two doses the next dose time. If you give one dose every other day, give the missed dose as soon as remembered, then go back to the regular every other day schedule.

What happens if I overdose my pet on Prednisone?

Seek emergency veterinary medical treatment if an overdose is suspected.

What should I avoid while giving Prednisone to my pet?

Avoid sources of infection. Do not use any vaccines without checking with the veterinarian.

What other drugs will affect Prednisone?

Do not give any other over-the-counter or prescription medications, including herbal products, during treatment with Prednisone without first talking to your veterinarian. Many other medications can interact with Prednisone resulting in side effects or altered effectiveness.

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