Hydrocortisone (topical)

The need-to-know information for Hydrocortisone


Pearls and Fun Nuggets

1. Hydrocortisone and cortisol are the same thing ✌  Hydrocortisone is the pharmaceutical term for cortisol that’s used in oral administration, intravenous injection, or topical application.

2. Topical hydrocortisone creams are very popular 🌍  They are available in most countries without prescription in strengths ranging from 0.05% to 2.5% (depending on local regulations) with stronger forms available by prescription only

3. Hydrocortisone is one of the weaker steroids 😒 Compared to hydrocortisone, prednisolone is about four times as strong and dexamethasone about forty times as strong in their anti-inflammatory effect.[9] Prednisolone can also be used as cortisol replacement, and at replacement dose levels (rather than anti-inflammatory levels), prednisolone is about eight times more potent than cortisol.[10]

4. It is the treatment of choice for adrenocortical insufficiency 👍 [3]

Patient Perspectives

 “Started experiencing fatigue a few years ago and passed out suddenly. Rushed to hospital with normal cardiac workup and blood tests. After seeing a long list of doctors one finally came to the realization I had adrenal insufficiency. Prescribed 10mg hydrocortisone daily and feel much better.”


“Worked wonders for my poison ivy rash. Quick relief and healing when all others failed”


“We have a lot of mosquitoes in our area. They are very attracted to me and I develop quarter sized bumps shortly after being bitten. I have found that if I apply Hydrocortisone 1% cream to a mosquito bite as soon as possible the swelling and itching will be relieved within minutes. It is important to apply the cream prior to scratching the bite. I highly recommend using this cream; it makes my life here tolerable.”

Brandon Simpson, PA-C
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