Generic Name: cortisone, Oral tablet

Generic Name:

cortisone, Oral tablet

Cortone

All Brands

  • Cortone
SECTION 1 of 5

Highlights for cortisone

Oral tablet
1

Cortisone is an oral drug used to treat a variety of conditions, including arthritis, skin conditions, allergic states, blood disorders, and lupus.

2

Cortisone dosage ranges from 25–300 mg per day. Your dosage will depend on the condition you’re treating and other health factors.

3

Common side effects of cortisone include confusion, excitement, restlessness, headache, nausea, acne, and weight gain.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Chickenpox and measles

Cortisone can weaken your body’s ability to fight infection. If you’re taking cortisone, stay away from people who have chickenpox or measles, especially if you haven’t been vaccinated or had these diseases. Call your doctor right away if you come into contact with someone who is infected.

Infection warning

Don’t take cortisone if you have any type of fungal, bacterial, or viral infection. Cortisone can weaken your body’s response to infection, which can have severe or fatal effects. The medication can also cover up signs and symptoms of infection. If you do notice symptoms of an infection while taking this drug, call your doctor right away.

Drug Features

Cortisone is prescription drug. It’s available as an oral tablet.

Cortisone is available in its generic form. Generic drugs usually cost less. In some cases they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand. Talk to your healthcare provider to see if the generic will work for you.

Why It's Used

Cortisone helps to decrease inflammation and immune responses. It can also be used as replacement therapy for certain hormones.

More Details

How It Works

Cortisone is a steroid drug. In its synthetic form, it helps to decrease swelling in your body and stop immune responses to different stimuli.

More Details

Why It's Used

Cortisone helps to decrease inflammation and immune responses. It can also be used as replacement therapy for certain hormones.

It’s approved to treat:

  • rheumatic disorders:
    • rheumatoid arthritis
    • ankylosing spondylitis
    • osteoarthritis
  • skin disorders:
    • dermatitis
    • Steven-Johnson syndrome
    • severe psoriasis
  • ulcerative colitis
  • allergic states:
    • bronchial asthma
    • drug hypersensitivity
    • allergic rhinitis
  • blood disorders:
    • red blood cell anemia
    • autoimmune hemolytic anemia
  • lupus
  • primary or secondary adrenocortical insufficiency

How It Works

Cortisone is a steroid drug. In its synthetic form, it helps to decrease swelling in your body and stop immune responses to different stimuli.

Cortisone uses certain types of proteins to bind to and stop the release of molecules that cause inflammation. This effect also helps to suppress your immune response.

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cortisone Side Effects

Oral tablet

Most Common Side Effects

The most common side effects that occur with cortisone include:

  • confusion, excitement, and restlessness

  • headache

  • nausea and vomiting

  • skin problems, including acne, thin skin, excessive sweating, or skin redness

  • upset stomach

  • trouble sleeping

  • weight gain

Serious Side Effects

If you experience any of these serious side effects, call your doctor right away. If your symptoms are potentially life threatening or if you think you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

  • allergic reactions, such as:

    • skin rash
    • itching or hives
    • swelling of your face, lips, or tongue
  • side effects from too much corticosteroid, such as:

    • black, tarry stools
    • breathing problems
    • bulging eyes
    • vision changes
    • fever, sore throat, sores that don’t heal, infection
    • urinating more frequently
    • increased thirst
    • pain in your hips, back, ribs, arms, shoulders, or legs
    • swelling of your feet or lower legs
    • feeling unusually tired or weak
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Cortisone doesn’t cause drowsiness.

Mild side effects may disappear within a few days or a couple of weeks. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if they’re more severe or don’t go away.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
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cortisone May Interact with Other Medications

Oral tablet

Cortisone may interact with other medications, herbs, or vitamins you might be taking. That’s why your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. If you’re curious about how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Note: You can reduce the chances of drug interactions by having all of your prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy. That way, a pharmacist can check for possible drug interactions.

Medications That Might Interact with This Drug

Mifepristone

Don’t take this medication with cortisone. If you combine these medications, cortisone won’t work to treat your medical condition.

Live vaccines

Don't receive live vaccines while taking cortisone. Examples of live vaccines are the live flu vaccine and the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine. If you receive a live vaccine, your body might not be able to build up resistance to the virus in the vaccine. The virus can spread in your body and cause side effects.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.

People with infection

Don’t take cortisone if you have any type of fungal, bacterial, or viral infections. Cortisone can weaken your body’s response to infection, which can be severe or even fatal. The medication can also cover up the signs and symptoms of an infection.

People with high blood pressure, heart problems

This medication can raise your blood pressure and worsen heart conditions.

People with diabetes

Use cortisone with caution if you have diabetes. Using corticosteroids can increase your blood sugar level. You may need to monitor your blood sugar level more closely. Your doses of diabetes medication might need to be changed.

People with glaucoma, eye problems

Cortisone can increase the risk of secondary eye infections. Use it with caution if you have glaucoma or other eye problems.

People with stomach/intestinal problems

Cortisone can cause irritation in your stomach and intestines, which can worsen your medical condition. Use cortisone with caution if you have any stomach/intestinal problems.

Pregnant women

Cortisone is a pregnancy category D drug. That means two things:

  1. Studies show a risk of adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. This drug should only be used during pregnancy in serious cases where it's needed to treat a dangerous condition in the mother.

Speak with your doctor if you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

Women who are nursing

Cortisone may pass through breast milk and can cause serious effects in your baby, such as delayed growth and development.

You and your doctor may need to decide whether you should stop nursing or stop cortisone.

For Children

Cortisone can cause delayed growth and development in children and infants. Your child’s doctor may monitor their development if they take this medication.

Allergies

Don’t take this drug again if you‘ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it a second time after an allergic reaction could be fatal.

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How to Take cortisone (Dosage)

Oral tablet

All possible dosages and forms may not be included here. Your dose, form, and how often you take it will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What Are You Taking This Medication For?

Endocrine disorders
Form: Oral Tablet
Strengths: 5 mg and 10 mg
Adult Dosage (ages 18 years and older)

The dose ranges from 25 mg to 300 mg per day, depending on the severity of your condition.

Child Dosage (ages 0–17 years)

Dosage for people younger than 18 years is variable and is based on the condition being treated and the weight of the person being treated.

Special Considerations

Use cortisone with extreme caution if you have any of the following conditions:

  • kidney problems
  • liver problems
  • seizures
  • psychiatric problems
  • mood disorders

Cortisone can make these conditions worse.

Rheumatic disorders
Form: Oral Tablet
Strengths: 5 mg and 10 mg
Adult Dosage (ages 18 years and older)

The dose ranges from 25 mg to 300 mg per day, depending on the severity of your condition.

Child Dosage (ages 0–17 years)

Dosage for people younger than 18 years is variable and is based on the condition being treated and the weight of the person being treated.

Special Considerations

Use cortisone with extreme caution if you have any of the following conditions:

  • kidney problems
  • liver problems
  • seizures
  • psychiatric problems
  • mood disorders

Cortisone can make these conditions worse.

Skin disorders
Form: Oral Tablet
Strengths: 5 mg and 10 mg
Adult Dosage (ages 18 years and older)

The dose ranges from 25 mg to 300 mg per day, depending on the severity of your condition.

Child Dosage (ages 0–17 years)

Dosage for people younger than 18 years is variable and is based on the condition being treated and the weight of the person being treated.

Special Considerations

Use cortisone with extreme caution if you have any of the following conditions:

  • kidney problems
  • liver problems
  • seizures
  • psychiatric problems
  • mood disorders

Cortisone can make these conditions worse.

Gastrointestinal disorders
Form: Oral Tablet
Strengths: 5 mg and 10 mg
Adult Dosage (ages 18 years and older)

The dose ranges from 25 mg to 300 mg per day, depending on the severity of your condition.

Child Dosage (ages 0–17 years)

Dosage for people younger than 18 years is variable and is based on the condition being treated and the weight of the person being treated.

Special Considerations

Use cortisone with extreme caution if you have any of the following conditions:

  • kidney problems
  • liver problems
  • seizures
  • psychiatric problems
  • mood disorders

Cortisone can make these conditions worse.

Allergic states
Form: Oral Tablet
Strengths: 5 mg and 10 mg
Adult Dosage (ages 18 years and older)

The dose ranges from 25 mg to 300 mg per day, depending on the severity of your condition.

Child Dosage (ages 0–17 years)

Dosage for people younger than 18 years is variable and is based on the condition being treated and the weight of the person being treated.

Special Considerations

Use cortisone with extreme caution if you have any of the following conditions:

  • kidney problems
  • liver problems
  • seizures
  • psychiatric problems
  • mood disorders

Cortisone can make these conditions worse.

Blood disorders
Form: Oral Tablet
Strengths: 5 mg and 10 mg
Adult Dosage (ages 18 years and older)

The dose ranges from 25 mg to 300 mg per day, depending on the severity of your condition.

Child Dosage (ages 0–17 years)

Dosage for people younger than 18 years is variable and is based on the condition being treated and the weight of the person being treated.

Special Considerations

Use cortisone with extreme caution if you have any of the following conditions:

  • kidney problems
  • liver problems
  • seizures
  • psychiatric problems
  • mood disorders

Cortisone can make these conditions worse.

Lupus
Form: Oral Tablet
Strengths: 5 mg and 10 mg
Adult Dosage (ages 18 years and older)

The dose ranges from 25 mg to 300 mg per day, depending on the severity of your condition.

Child Dosage (ages 0–17 years)

Dosage for people younger than 18 years is variable and is based on the condition being treated and the weight of the person being treated.

Special Considerations

Use cortisone with extreme caution if you have any of the following conditions:

  • kidney problems
  • liver problems
  • seizures
  • psychiatric problems
  • mood disorders

Cortisone can make these conditions worse.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Cortisone comes with risks if you don’t take it as prescribed by your doctor.

If You Stop Suddenly

You might develop a severe withdrawal reaction if you stop taking cortisone suddenly. If your doctor wants to stop your cortisone, your dose will slowly be lowered to avoid any side effects from sudden withdrawal.

What to Do If You Miss a Dose

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it’s close to the time of your next dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist. You might need to miss a dose or take an extra dose, depending on the condition you’re treating.

Don’t take an extra dose without checking with your doctor or pharmacist.

How to Tell If the Drug Is Working

You may be able to tell the drug is working if you experience decreased symptoms and inflammation.

IsThis a Short-Term or Long-Term Drug?

How long you take this drug will depend on the condition you’re treating.

Important Considerations for Taking Cortisone
take with food You can take with food to avoid upset stomach. Take cortisone with a full glass of water
timing Take it in the morning if taking it once a day
crush the tablet You can cut or crush the oral tablet
storage Store at room temperature: 68–77°F (20–25°C) See Details
Refillable Prescription is refillable
Travel Travel See Details
Clinical Monitoring Clinical Monitoring See Details
Diet Considerations Your Diet See Details
not usually stocked Not every pharmacy stocks this drug, so call ahead

Store at room temperature: 68–77°F (20–25°C)

Note: Be careful of moist environments, including bathrooms. To keep drugs away from moisture, store them somewhere other than your bathroom and any other damp location.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry it with you or in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport X-ray machines. They can’t hurt this medication.
  • You may need to show your pharmacy’s preprinted label to identify the medication. Keep the original prescription-labeled box with you when traveling.

Clinical Monitoring

Your doctor may monitor your:

  • blood pressure levels
  • blood sugar levels
  • potassium levels

Your Diet

Cortisone may cause your body to retain salt and water. It may also affect your potassium levels. Your doctor may tell you to take potassium supplements or reduce the salt in your diet.

Are There Any Alternatives?

There are several medications that treat these medical conditions. Some may be more suitable for you than others.Talk to your doctor about possible alternatives.

What does the pill look like?

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How Much Does cortisone Cost?

Oral tablet
We've partnered with GoodRX so you can compare prices and save money on your next prescription. Check out the lowest cash prices below and enter your zip code to find the best deal near you.

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Lowest price for cortisone

Membership warehouse $24.43
Walmart $25.05
Sams Club $25.05
These represent the lowest cash prices for cortisone and may be lower than your insurance.

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These represent the lowest cash prices for cortisone and may be lower than your insurance.

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Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on May 4, 2015

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

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