How does this medication work? What will it do for me?
Cortisone belongs to the family of medications known as corticosteroids. It is used to treat several conditions and works by reducing swelling, inflammation, and irritation. It is more commonly used to treat allergic reactions, certain skin conditions, severe asthma, and arthritis.
Cortisone can also be used to treat steroid deficiency in the body, certain blood disorders, certain types of cancer, and ulcerative colitis.
This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.
Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.
What form(s) does this medication come in?
Each white, scored, compressed tablet, imprinted "ICN C23", contains cortisone acetate 25 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: cornstarch, croscarmellose sodium, lactose, magnesium stearate, and talc.
How should I use this medication?
The usual dose varies greatly according to the condition being treated and the circumstances of the person being treated.
Larger doses should be taken with food to reduce the chance of an upset stomach.
Many things can affect the dose of a medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.
It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.
Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.
Who should NOT take this medication?
Do not take cortisone if you:
- are allergic to cortisone or any of the ingredients of the medication
- are having an acute psychotic episode
- have an internal fungal infection
- have a herpes simplex infection of the eye
- have tuberculosis
- will be given a live virus vaccine (e.g., measles, mumps, rubella, yellow fever, BCG) and are taking large immunosuppressive doses of cortisone
What side effects are possible with this medication?
Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent. The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.
The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.
Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.
- darkening or lightening of skin colour
- dizziness or lightheadedness
- flushing of face or cheeks
- increased appetite
- increased sweating
- spinning sensation
Although most of these side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not check with your doctor or seek medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
- decreased or blurred vision
- false sense of well-being
- frequent urination
- increased thirst
- mistaken feelings of self-importance or of being mistreated
- mood swings (sudden and wide)
- signs of depression (e.g., poor concentration, changes in weight, changes in sleep, decreased interest in activities, thoughts of suicide)
- symptoms of high blood sugar (e.g., frequent urination, increased thirst, excessive eating, unexplained weight loss, poor wound healing, infections, fruity breath odour)
Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:
- signs of a serious allergic reaction (e.g., swelling of face or throat, hives, or difficulty breathing)
If this medication is used for a long time, other side effects may occur. Contact your doctor if you notice any of the following side effects:
- abdominal or stomach pain or burning (continuing)
- bloody or black, tarry stool
- changes in vision
- eye pain
- filling or rounding out of the face
- irregular heartbeat
- menstrual problems
- muscle cramps or pain
- muscle weakness
- pain in arms, back, hips, legs, ribs, or shoulders
- reddish-purple lines on arms, face, groin, legs, or trunk
- redness of eyes
- sensitivity of eyes to light
- stunting of growth (in children)
- swelling of feet or lower legs
- tearing of eyes
- thin, shiny skin
- trouble sleeping
- unusual bruising
- unusual increase in hair growth
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- weight gain (rapid)
- wounds that will not heal
Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.
Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?
Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Blood pressure: Average and large doses of cortisone can cause increases in blood pressure. You should have your blood pressure monitored while taking this medication. Your doctor may suggest diet changes or other measures to keep your blood pressure under control.
Diabetes: This medication may worsen blood sugar control for people with diabetes. People with diabetes may need to monitor their blood sugar more closely while they are taking this medication.
Eye problems: Prolonged use of cortisone may cause glaucoma with possible damage to the optic nerves or it may produce cataracts. It may also increase the risk of eye infections due to fungi or viruses. Report any change in vision, eye pain, eye irritation, redness, or discharge to your doctor as soon as possible.
Fertility: The use of this medication may affect fertility by increasing or decreasing the number and quality of sperm that are produced.
Infections: Cortisone may mask some signs of infection, and new infections may appear during its use. This medication may worsen internal fungal infections and should not be used by people with such infections.
Medical records: Inform all doctors involved in your care that you have used this medication.
Mental health: Cortisone, like other corticosteroids, may cause behaviour and personality changes and mood swings. These reactions are most likely to occur when you first start taking this medication. If you experience these symptoms, or notice them in a family member who is taking this medication, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Osteoporosis: This medication can increase the risk of osteoporosis (brittle bones). Talk to your doctor about ways to help prevent osteoporosis. Your doctor will monitor your bone density if you take this medication for a long period of time.
Stomach and intestinal problems: If you have or have had a stomach or intestinal ulcer, or have ulcerative colitis, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Stopping the medication: When stopping the use of this medication after having used it for a long time, reduce the dose slowly as prescribed by your doctor. Stopping the medication too quickly could lead to withdrawal symptoms including fever, muscle and joint pain, and a general feeling of being unwell.
Stress: People who take cortisone and are also subjected to any unusual stress should increase the dosage of this medication before, during, and after the stressful situation, as directed by their doctor.
Pregnancy: This medication has not been adequately studied for use by pregnant women. It should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: This medication passes into breast milk and could slow growth, interfere with the baby's own steroid production, or cause other unwanted effects for the breast-feeding infant. Women taking this medication should not breast-feed.
Children: The growth and development of infants and children who take cortisone on a long-term basis should be carefully monitored.
What other drugs could interact with this medication?
There may be an interaction between cortisone and any of the following:
- amphotericin B
- androgens (e.g., methyltestosterone, nandrolone, testosterone)
- antacids (e.g., aluminum hydroxide, calcium carbonate, magnesium hydroxide)
- anticholinesterases (e.g., edrophonium, neostigmine, pyridostigmine)
- "azole" antifungals (e.g., itraconazole, ketoconazole, voriconazole)
- BCG vaccine
- calcium carbonate
- diabetes medications (e.g., chlorpropamide, glipizide, glyburide, insulin, metformin, nateglinide, rosiglitazone, saxagliptin)
- diuretics (water pills; e.g., furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide)
- estrogens (e.g., conjugated estrogen, estradiol, ethinyl estradiol; including estrogen-containing birth control pills)
- grapefruit juice
- HIV protease inhibitors (atazanavir, darunavir, lopinavir, ritonavir)
- live vaccines (e.g., yellow fever, BCG, measles, mumps, rubella)
- macrolide antibiotics (e.g., clarithromycin, erythromycin)
- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs; e.g., diclofenac, ibuprofen, ketorolac, naproxen)
- quinolone antibiotics (e.g., ciprofloxacin, norfloxacin, ofloxacin)
- salicylates (e.g., acetylsalicylic acid [ASA])
If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:
- stop taking one of the medications,
- change one of the medications to another,
- change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
- leave everything as is.
An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.
Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.