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Drug Class: Commonly Known As: Category:
Corticosteroid Adult

Hydrocortisone - Side Effects, Precautions, and Contraindications

What side effects can Hydrocortisone cause?

​The common side effects include

  • Upset stomach, nausea, vomiting
  • Increased appetite, weight gain, fluid retention
  • Increased sweating
  • Feeling restless

Other rare but serious effects that may occur include:

  • Mood changes like feeling depressed, anxious, fluctuating feelings
  • Fast weight gain, especially on the face and upper back
  • Significant fluid retention
  • Very bad stomach pain
  • Bruising more easily
  • Muscle weakness or pain
  • Change in eyesight or vision
  • Bloody or black, tarry stools
  • Signs of high blood sugar, such as confusion, lethargic, increased thirst, increased hunger, passing urine more often
  • Signs of infection, such as fever, chills, sore throat, mouth sores or wound that will not heal

If you experience severe nausea or vomiting, or are unable to take the medication by mouth, see your healthcare professional immediately.

The symptoms of a drug allergy which include one or more of the following:

  • Swollen face/eyes/lips/tongue
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Itchy skin rashes over your whole body

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should stop your medication and see your healthcare professional immediately.

Before taking Hydrocortisone , what precautions must I follow?

Before starting on this medication, inform your doctor if you have the following medical conditions:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Osteoporosis (weak and fragile bones)
  • Glaucoma (increased pressure in the eye)
  • Mood related conditions
  • Any heart, liver or kidney problems
  • Tuberculosis
  • Epilepsy (seizure)
  • You should let your doctor know if you are not feeling well or going for surgery as the medication dose may need to be changed.
  • If you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant or are breastfeeding, you should inform your doctor.
  • If you have been advised to receive vaccines, inform your healthcare provider that you are taking this medication. Some vaccines may not be suitable for use in patients who are taking hydrocortisone.
  • If you have taken other steroids before, and had a bad reaction to it, such as having muscle weakness or experienced some mood changes.
  • This medication may cause you to get infections more easily. Please inform your doctor if you have any infection before you start this medication. Avoid crowded places or being near people who are sick. Avoid close contact with people who have chicken pox, shingles or measles.

What food or medicine must I avoid when I take Hydrocortisone ?

  • ​Check with your doctor if you can drink alcohol when taking this medication, as this may increase your risk of gastrointestinal problems.
  • Inform your doctor on the other medications which you are currently taking.
  • Tags: Dexamethasone, Prednisolone
  • Updated on 3/31/2021 12:00:00 AM
  • Article contributed by PSS National Medication Information Workgroup PSS National Medication Information Workgroup
The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth

​​If you take more than the recommended dose, please seek medical advice immediately. The information provided on this page does not replace information from your healthcare professional. Please consult your healthcare professional for more information.

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