Hydrocortisone (Systemic)

Pediatric Medication

Brand Names: US

A-Hydrocort [DSC]; Cortef; Solu-CORTEF

Brand Names: Canada

Cortef; Solu-Cortef

What is this drug used for?

  • It is used for many health problems like allergy signs, asthma, adrenal gland problems, blood problems, skin rashes, or swelling problems. This is not a list of all health problems that this drug may be used for. Talk with the doctor.

What do I need to tell the doctor BEFORE my child takes this drug?

All products:

  • If your child has an allergy to this drug or any part of this drug.
  • If your child is allergic to any drugs like this one or any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell the doctor about the allergy and what signs your child had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
  • If your child has any of these health problems: A herpes infection of the eye or a fungal infection.
  • If your child has a malaria infection in the brain.


  • If your child has nerve problems in the eye.

Injection (if given in the muscle):

  • If your child has low platelet levels.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with this drug.
Tell the doctor and pharmacist about all of your child’s drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for your child to take this drug with all of his/her drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug your child takes without checking with the doctor.

What are some things I need to know or do while my child takes this drug?

All products:

  • Tell all of your child’s health care providers that your child is taking this drug. This includes your child’s doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
  • Have blood work checked as you have been told by the doctor. Talk with the doctor.
  • If your child has been taking this drug for many weeks, talk with your child’s doctor before stopping. You may want to slowly stop this drug.
  • Your child may have more chance of getting an infection. Some infections have been deadly. Have your child wash hands often. Have your child stay away from people with infections, colds, or flu.
  • Chickenpox and measles can be very bad or even deadly in some people taking steroid drugs like this drug. Avoid having your child near anyone with chickenpox or measles if your child has not had these health problems before. If your child has been exposed to chickenpox or measles, talk with the doctor.
  • This drug may lower how much natural steroid is in your child’s body. If your child has a fever, an infection, surgery, or is hurt, talk with the doctor. Your child may need extra doses of oral steroids. These extra steroids will help your child’s body deal with these stresses. Carry a warning card saying that there may be times when your child needs extra steroids.
  • Long-term use may raise the chance of cataracts, glaucoma, or weak bones (osteoporosis). Talk with your child’s doctor.
  • Your child may need to have a bone density test. Talk with the doctor.
  • Have your child’s eye pressure checked if your child is on this drug for a long time. Talk with the doctor.
  • Talk with the doctor before your child gets any vaccines. Use with this drug may either raise the chance of very bad infection or make the vaccine not work as well.
  • If your child has high blood sugar (diabetes), you will need to watch his/her blood sugar closely.
  • Alcohol may interact with this drug. Be sure your child does not drink alcohol.
  • You may need to lower how much salt is in your child’s diet and give your child extra potassium. Talk with your child’s doctor.
  • This drug may affect growth in children and teens in some cases. They may need regular growth checks. Talk with the doctor.

If your child is pregnant or breast-feeding a baby:

  • Talk with the doctor if your child is pregnant, becomes pregnant, or is breast-feeding a baby. You will need to talk about the benefits and risks of using this drug.
  • If your child used this drug when she was pregnant, tell the baby’s doctor.


  • Very bad health problems have happened when drugs like this one have been given into the spine (epidural). These include paralysis, loss of eyesight, stroke, and sometimes death. It is not known if drugs like this one are safe and effective when given into the spine. These drugs are not approved for this use. Talk with the doctor.

What are some side effects that I need to call my child’s doctor about right away?

WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your child’s doctor or get medical help right away if your child has any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Signs of infection like fever, chills, very bad sore throat, ear or sinus pain, cough, more sputum or change in color of sputum, pain with passing urine, mouth sores, or wound that will not heal.
  • Signs of high blood sugar like confusion, feeling sleepy, more thirst, more hungry, passing urine more often, flushing, fast breathing, or breath that smells like fruit.
  • Signs of a weak adrenal gland like a very bad upset stomach or throwing up, very bad dizziness or passing out, muscle weakness, feeling very tired, mood changes, not hungry, or weight loss.
  • Signs of low potassium levels like muscle pain or weakness, muscle cramps, or a heartbeat that does not feel normal.
  • Signs of a pancreas problem (pancreatitis) like very bad stomach pain, very bad back pain, or very bad upset stomach or throwing up.
  • Signs of high blood pressure like very bad headache or dizziness, passing out, or change in eyesight.
  • Signs of Cushing’s disease like weight gain in the upper back or belly, moon face, very bad headache, or slow healing.
  • If your child is feeling very tired, weak, or touchy; is trembling; has a fast heartbeat, confusion, sweating, or dizziness if a dose was missed or the drug was recently stopped.
  • Shortness of breath, a big weight gain, swelling in the arms or legs.
  • Skin changes (pimples, stretch marks, slow healing, hair growth).
  • Round face.
  • A fatty pad or hump between the shoulders.
  • Feeling very tired or weak.
  • Muscle weakness.
  • Bone or joint pain.
  • Chest pain or pressure.
  • Change in eyesight, eye pain, or very bad eye irritation.
  • Mood changes.
  • Change in the way your child acts.
  • Low mood (depression).
  • Seizures.
  • Any unexplained bruising or bleeding.
  • Very bad belly pain.
  • Black, tarry, or bloody stools.
  • Throwing up blood or throw up that looks like coffee grounds.
  • If your child has or may have a condition called pheochromocytoma, talk with the doctor. Very bad and sometimes deadly effects have been seen in patients with this condition who use this type of drug.

If your child has menstrual periods:

  • Period (menstrual) changes.

What are some other side effects of this drug?

All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your child’s doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother your child or do not go away:
  • Upset stomach or throwing up.
  • Not able to sleep.
  • Restlessness.
  • Sweating a lot.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your child’s doctor. Call your child’s doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to your national health agency.

How is this drug best given?

Give this drug as ordered by your child’s doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.


  • Give in the morning if giving once a day.
  • Give this drug with food.


  • It is given as a shot into a muscle or vein.

All products:

  • To gain the most benefit, do not miss giving your child doses.
  • Keep giving this drug to your child as you have been told by your child’s doctor or other health care provider, even if your child feels well.

What do I do if my child misses a dose?


  • Give a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
  • If it is close to the time for your child’s next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your child’s normal time.
  • Do not give 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.


  • Call your child’s doctor to find out what to do.

How do I store and/or throw out this drug?


  • Store at room temperature.
  • Store in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.


  • If you need to store this drug at home, talk with your child’s doctor, nurse, or pharmacist about how to store it.

All products:

  • Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to throw out unused drugs.

General drug facts

  • If your child’s symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your child’s doctor.
  • Do not share your child’s drug with others and do not give anyone else’s drug to your child.
  • Keep a list of all your child’s drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your child’s doctor.
  • Talk with your child’s doctor before giving your child any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
  • Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. If you have any questions about this drug, please talk with your child’s doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only the healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for a specific patient. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from the healthcare provider. You must talk with the healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

Last Reviewed Date



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