Hydrocortisone is a steroid medicine that is used in the treatment of many different conditions, including allergic disorders, skin conditions, ulcerative colitis, arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, or lung disorders.. Hydrocortisone is also used to replace steroids in people with adrenal insufficiency (decreased production of natural steroids by the adrenal glands).
Dosage form: cream, ointment
Drug class: Topical steroids
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Sep 1, 2021.
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Hydrocortisone 2.5% Description
Each gram of Hydrocortisone Cream USP, 2.5% contains 25 mg of hydrocortisone in a cream base of cetyl alcohol, methylparaben, propylene glycol, propylparaben, purified water, sodium lauryl sulfate, and stearyl alcohol.
Each gram of Hydrocortisone Ointment USP, 2.5% contains 25 mg of hydrocortisone in ointment base of light mineral oil and white petrolatum.
Chemically, hydrocortisone is [Pregn-4-ene-3,20-dione,11,17,21-trihydroxy-, (11β)-] with the molecular formula (C21H3O05) and is represented by the following structural formula:
Its molecular weight is 362.47 and its CAS Registery Number is 50-23-7. The topical corticosteroids, including hydrocortisone, constitute a class of primarily synthetic steroids used as anti-inflammatory and antipruritic agents.
Hydrocortisone 2.5% – Clinical Pharmacology
Topical corticosteroids share anti-inflammatory, antipruritic, and vasoconstrictive actions. The mechanism of anti-inflammatory activity of the topical corticosteroids is unclear. Various laboratory methods, including vasoconstrictor assays, are used to compare and predict potencies and/or clinical efficacies of the topical corticosteroids. There is some evidence to suggest that a recognizable correlation exists between vasoconstrictor potency and therapeutic efficacy in man.
The extent of percutaneous absorption of topical corticosteroids is determined by many factors including the vehicle, the integrity of the epidermal barrier, and the use of occlusive dressings. Topical corticosteroids can be absorbed from normal intact skin. Inflammation and/or other disease processes in the skin increase percutaneous absorption. Occlusive dressings substantially increase the percutaneous absorption of topical corticosteroids. Thus, occlusive dressings may be a valuable therapeutic adjunct for treatment of resistant dermatoses (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).
Once absorbed through the skin, topical corticosteroids are handled through pharmacokinetic pathways similar to systematically administered corticosteroids. Corticosteroids are bound to plasma proteins in varying degrees. Corticosteroids are metabolized primarily in the liver and are then excreted by the kidneys. Some of the topical corticosteroids and their metabolites are also excreted into the bile.
Indications and Usage for Hydrocortisone 2.5%
Topical corticosteroids are indicated for the relief of the inflammatory and pruritic manifestations of corticosteroid-responsive dermatosis.
Topical corticosteroids are contraindicated in those patients with a history of hypersensitivity to any of the components of the preparation.
Systemic absorption of topical corticosteroids has produced reversible hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis suppression, manifestations of Cushing’s syndrome, hyperglycemia, and glucosuria in some patients. Conditions which augment systemic absorption include the application of the more potent steroids, use over large surface areas, prolonged use, and the addition of occlusive dressings.
Therefore, patients receiving a large dose of a potent topical steroid applied to a large surface area or under an occlusive dressing should be evaluated periodically for evidence of HPA axis suppression by using the urinary free cortisol and ACTH stimulation tests. If HPA axis suppression is noted, an attempt should be made to withdraw the drug, to reduce the frequency of application, or to substitute a less potent steroid. Recovery of HPA axis function is generally prompt and complete upon discontinuation of the drug. Infrequently, signs and symptoms of steroid withdrawal may occur, requiring supplemental systemic corticosteroids.
Children may absorb proportionally larger amounts of topical corticosteroids and thus be more susceptible to systemic toxicity (see PRECAUTIONS – Pediatric Use). If irritation develops, topical corticosteroids should be discontinued and appropriate therapy instituted.
In the presence of dermatological infections, the use of an appropriate antifungal or antibacterial agent should be instituted. If a favorable response does not occur promptly, the corticosteroid should be discontinued until the infection has been adequately controlled.
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