Hydrocortisone (Topical)

Adult Medication

Brand Names: US

Advanced Allergy Collection; Ala Cort; Ala Scalp; Anti-Itch Maximum Strength [OTC]; Anucort-HC; Anusol-HC; Aquanil HC [OTC]; Beta HC [OTC]; Colocort; Cortaid Maximum Strength [OTC]; CortAlo; Cortenema; Corticool [OTC]; Cortifoam; Dermasorb HC; First-Hydrocortisone; GRx HiCort 25 [DSC]; Hemril-30 [DSC]; Hydro Skin Maximum Strength [OTC]; Hydrocortisone Max St [OTC]; Hydrocortisone Max St/12 Moist [OTC]; HydroSKIN [OTC]; Instacort 10 [OTC]; Instacort 5 [OTC]; Locoid; Locoid Lipocream; Med-Derm Hydrocortisone [OTC]; Medi-First Hydrocortisone [OTC]; NuCort; NuZon [DSC]; Pandel; Pediaderm HC; Preparation H Hydrocortisone [OTC]; Procto-Pak; Proctocort; Proctosol HC; Proctozone-HC; Recort Plus [OTC]; Rectacort-HC [DSC]; Rederm [OTC]; Sarnol-HC [OTC]; Scalacort; Scalacort DK; Scalpicin Maximum Strength [OTC]; Texacort; TheraCort [OTC]; Westcort

Brand Names: Canada

Aquacort; Cortamed; Cortenema; Cortifoam; Emo-Cort; Hycort; Hyderm; HydroVal; Locoid; Prevex HC; Sarna HC; Westcort

What is this drug used for?

  • It is used to treat skin irritation.
  • It is used to treat skin rashes.
  • It is used to treat signs of hemorrhoids or rectal irritation.
  • It is used to treat ulcerative colitis.

What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take this drug?

All products:

  • If you have an allergy to hydrocortisone or any other part of this drug.
  • If you are allergic to any drugs like this one, any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.

Rectal enema:

  • If you have any of these health problems: Bowel block, a fungal infection, holes, sores, or wounds on the rectal area, or recent colostomy surgery.

Rectal foam:

  • If you have any of these health problems: Bowel block, fistulas, holes, sores, or wounds on the rectal area, or irritation of the lining of the belly.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with this drug.
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take this drug with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.

What are some things I need to know or do while I take this drug?

All products:

  • Tell dentists, surgeons, and other doctors that you use this drug.
  • Do not use to treat diaper rash.
  • Talk with your doctor before you use other drugs or products on your skin.
  • Do not put on cuts, scrapes, eczema, or damaged skin.
  • Use care when putting on a large part of the skin or where there are open wounds. Talk with the doctor.
  • This drug may cause harm if swallowed. If this drug is swallowed, call a doctor or poison control center right away.
  • Do not use this drug for longer than you were told by your doctor.
  • Use with care in children. Talk with the doctor.
  • This drug may affect growth in children and teens in some cases. They may need regular growth checks. Talk with the doctor.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant. You will need to talk about the benefits and risks of using this drug while you are pregnant.
  • Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding. You will need to talk about any risks to your baby.


  • This drug may stain clothing or fabric.

What are some side effects that I need to call my 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 doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:

All products:

  • 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 high blood sugar like confusion, feeling sleepy, more thirst, more hungry, passing urine more often, flushing, fast breathing, or breath that smells like fruit.
  • Weight gain.
  • Change in eyesight.
  • Very bad headache.


  • Skin changes (pimples, stretch marks, slow healing, hair growth).
  • Very bad skin irritation.


  • Very bad bleeding from rectum or rectal pain.

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 doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:


  • Skin irritation.
  • Stinging.
  • Dry skin.
  • Burning.


  • Burning.
  • Pain.
  • Rectal irritation.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to your national health agency.

How is this drug best taken?

Use this drug as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.

All products:

  • Use as you have been told, even if your signs get better.


  • Suppository, rectal cream, foam, or rectal suspension is for rectal use only.
  • Wash your hands before and after use.

Rectal cream:

  • Follow how to use as you have been told by the doctor or read the package insert.

Rectal enema:

  • Shake well before use.
  • Follow how to use as you have been told by the doctor or read the package insert.

Rectal foam:

  • Shake well before use.
  • Use an applicator to put in foam. Do not put the foam container right into the rectum.
  • This drug may catch on fire. Do not use near an open flame or while smoking.


  • Take foil off the rectal suppository and put in, pointed end first. Do not handle too much.
  • If suppository is soft, chill in a refrigerator or run cold water over it.


  • Do not take this drug by mouth. Use on your skin only. Keep out of your mouth, nose, and eyes (may burn).
  • Wash your hands before and after use. Do not wash your hands after use if putting this on your hand.
  • Shake foam and lotion well before use.
  • Clean affected part before use. Make sure to dry well.
  • Put a thin layer on the affected skin and rub in gently.
  • Do not put on the face, underarms, or the groin area unless told to do so by the doctor.
  • Do not use coverings (bandages, dressings, make-up) unless told to do so by the doctor.
  • If using on the groin, use a little bit. Do not wear tight clothing.
  • Do not use tight-fitting diapers or plastic pants if treated part is in the diaper area. This may cause more drug to get into the body.

What do I do if I miss a dose?

  • Use a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
  • If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
  • Do not use 2 doses or extra doses.

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

All products:

  • Store at room temperature. Do not freeze.
  • 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.


  • Protect from heat or open flame.
  • Do not puncture.


  • Protect from heat.

General drug facts

  • If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
  • Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else’s drugs.
  • Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
  • Talk with the doctor before starting 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 doctor, 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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Hydrocortisone (Topical)
©2015 Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center - Generated on November 26, 2015