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Fludrocortisone, Oral Tablet

Highlights for fludrocortisone

  1. Fludrocortisone oral tablet is only available as a generic drug. It has no brand-name version.
  2. Fludrocortisone only comes as an oral tablet.
  3. Fludrocortisone is used to treat the adrenal gland diseases called Addison’s disease and salt-losing adrenogenital syndrome (congenital adrenal hyperplasia).
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Important warnings

Important warnings

  • Salt retention warning: Fludrocortisone can make you retain lots of salt (sodium) in your body. High amounts of salt in your body can lead to:
    • high blood pressure
    • water retention (swelling)
    • weight gain
    • low potassium levels, which may cause muscle aches or weakness, and abnormal heartbeat
  • Infection warning: Fludrocortisone can weaken your immune system. This may make it easier for you to get an infection and harder for your body to fight off an infection. Tell your doctor about recent infections you’ve had or if you develop any symptoms of an infection. Symptoms may include fever, chills, and body aches. While taking this drug, avoid being near people who are sick or have recently been sick, especially with the chicken pox or measles. If you’re exposed to chickenpox or measles while taking this drug, be sure to tell your doctor.
  • Vaccine warning: Don’t receive any vaccines while you’re taking fludrocortisone. Doing so could cause brain, spinal cord, and nerve problems. Also, your body may not be able to respond to the vaccine properly. This could make the vaccine unable to protect you from disease.

About

What is fludrocortisone?

Fludrocortisone is a prescription drug. It comes as an oral tablet.

Fludrocortisone is only available in a generic version. Generic drugs usually cost less than brand-name drugs.

This drug may be used as part of a combination therapy. That means you may need to take it with other drugs.

While you take this drug, in case of emergency, carry medical identification that says you’re dependent on steroid medication.

Why it's used

This medication is used to treat Addison’s disease and salt-losing adrenogenital syndrome (also known as congenital adrenal hyperplasia).

How it works

Fludrocortisone is a steroid drug. It belongs to a class of drugs called corticosteroids. If your body isn’t producing enough of a certain steroid hormone, this drug will help to replace the shortage. This may help your body to perform necessary functions, such as retaining enough salt to function well.

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Side effects

Fludrocortisone side effects

Fludrocortisone doesn’t cause drowsiness, but it can cause other side effects.

More common side effects

The more common side effects that can occur with fludrocortisone include:

  • salt and water retention. This can lead to:
    • high blood pressure
    • swelling (edema)
    • growth in heart size
    • heart failure
  • low potassium. This can lead to:
    • muscle pain and weakness
    • abnormal heartbeat
  • weak, fragile bones (osteoporosis)
  • stomach ulcers
  • slow wound healing
  • thin or easily bruised skin
  • headaches
  • trouble sleeping
  • glaucoma (increased pressure in your eyes)
  • increased blood sugar levels
  • weight gain
  • deposits of fatty tissue throughout your body. This may cause a full, rounded face or a hump on your back.

Mild side effects may go away within few days. Talk to your doctor or your pharmacist if they’re bothersome or don’t go away.

Serious side effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • severe allergic reactions, including:
    • skin rash
    • hives
    • swelling of your lips, face, or tongue
  • infection. Symptoms may include:
    • fever
    • chills
    • body aches
  • changes in vision or pain in your eyes
  • changes in emotions or moods, including:
    • depression
    • mood swings
    • changes in personality
  • severe or continuing headaches
  • convulsions (seizures)
  • wounds that won't heal
  • heart failure. Symptoms may include:
    • unusual weight gain
    • swelling in your arms, legs, hands, or feet
    • trouble breathing
  • new or worsening diabetes. Symptoms may include:
    • high blood sugar levels
    • feeling thirsty all the time
    • feeling hungry all the time
    • needing to urinate more often
  • stomach ulcer or bleeding. Symptoms may include:
    • severe stomach pain
    • black, sticky stools
    • vomiting up blood
  • inflamed pancreas (pancreatitis). Symptoms may include:
    • severe stomach pain or upset
    • vomiting
    • severe back pain
  • low potassium levels. Symptoms may include:
    • muscle aches or weakness
    • muscle cramps
    • abnormal heartbeat
  • feeling extreme fatigue or weakness
  • breathing difficulty
  • peeling or blistering skin

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we can not 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.

Interactions

Fludrocortisone may interact with other medications

Fludrocortisone oral tablet can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.

To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Examples of drugs that can cause interactions with fludrocortisone are listed below.

Fungal infection drug

Combining amphotericin B with fludrocortisone can increase your body’s loss of potassium. Symptoms may include muscle pain and weakness, or an abnormal heartbeat.

Diuretic (water pill)

Combining furosemide with fludrocortisone can increase your body’s loss of potassium. Symptoms may include muscle pain and weakness, or an abnormal heartbeat.

Heart drug

Combining digoxin with fludrocortisone can increase your risk of irregular heartbeat. Fludrocortisone may also increase your risk of digoxin side effects by lowering your potassium levels.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

Combining an NSAID with fludrocortisone may cause the NSAID not to work as well. It may also increase your risk of stomach and intestinal side effects. Examples of NSAIDs include:

  • aspirin
  • ibuprofen
  • naproxen
  • celecoxib

Anticoagulant, blood thinner

Combining warfarin with fludrocortisone may increase or decrease the blood-thinning effects of warfarin. Your dosage of warfarin may need to be adjusted by your doctor.

Diabetes drugs

If you take these certain diabetes drugs with fludrocortisone, they may not work as well. Your dosage may need to be increased by your doctor. These diabetes drugs include oral drugs and insulin. Examples are:

  • metformin
  • glipizide
  • glimepiride
  • pioglitazone
  • linagliptin
  • sitagliptin
  • saxagliptin

Barbiturate, sedative

Taking phenobarbital with fludrocortisone may decrease levels of fludrocortisone in your blood, causing it not to work as well. Your doctor may need to increase your fludrocortisone dosage.

Antibiotic

Taking rifampin with fludrocortisone may decrease levels of fludrocortisone in your blood, causing it not to work as well. Your doctor may need to increase your fludrocortisone dosage.

Seizure drug

Taking phenytoin with fludrocortisone may decrease levels of fludrocortisone in your blood, causing it not to work as well. Your doctor may need to increase your fludrocortisone dosage.

Male hormones (anabolic steroids)

Taking these hormones with fludrocortisone can increase your risk of swelling. Use caution in taking these drugs together, especially if you have heart or liver disease.

Female hormones (estrogens)

Taking these hormones with fludrocortisone can increase the amount of fludrocortisone in your blood. Your doctor may need to decrease your fludrocortisone dosage.

Vaccines

Don’t receive any vaccines while taking fludrocortisone. Having a vaccine could lead to brain, spinal cord, and nerve problems. Also, your body won’t be able to respond to the vaccine properly. This makes the vaccine unable to protect you from the disease it’s designed to prevent.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we can not 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.

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Other warnings

Fludrocortisone warnings

This drug comes with several warnings.

Allergy warning

Fludrocortisone can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms may include:

  • trouble breathing
  • swelling of your face or throat
  • hives or a rash

If you develop these symptoms, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

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

Alcohol interaction warning

Avoid drinking too much alcohol while taking this drug. Your body processes alcohol and fludrocortisone in similar ways. That means that if you drink alcohol, this drug might take longer to leave your body. You could experience worse side effects.

Warnings for people with certain health conditions

For people with infections: Taking fludrocortisone can make an infection worse. Before you begin taking and while you take this medication, tell your doctor if you have any signs or symptoms of an infection, such as fever, chills, or body aches.

For people with tuberculosis: Taking fludrocortisone may make an active tuberculosis infection worse. It can also cause tuberculosis to come back if you’ve had it before. Let your doctor know if you currently have or have ever had tuberculosis.

For people with glaucoma: Taking fludrocortisone for a long time may increase the pressure in your eyes, causing damage to your eyes and vision. Your risk for other eye infections will also increase while you’re taking this medication. Let your doctor know if you have glaucoma or any other eye diseases.

For people with ocular herpes simplex: Taking fludrocortisone may cause perforation, or small holes, in the outer layer of your eye (called the cornea). Let your doctor know if you have ocular herpes simplex.

For people with heart disease: This includes high blood pressure and heart failure. Taking fludrocortisone might cause your blood pressure to increase or make heart failure worse because it makes you retain salt and water. Let your doctor know if you have any heart problems.

For people with diabetes: Taking fludrocortisone can increase your blood sugar levels. You should monitor your blood sugar level more closely. Your doctor may need to increase the doses of your diabetes medications.

For people with stomach and intestine problems: If you have problems such as ulcers, diverticulitis, or ulcerative colitis, taking fludrocortisone may increase your risks for more ulcers, bleeds, or small holes in your stomach and intestines. Let your doctor know if you have a history of these stomach and intestine problems.

For people with osteoporosis: Taking fludrocortisone for a long time may make weak, fragile bones worse and increase your risk of broken bones. Let your doctor know if you have a history of osteoporosis.

For people with liver disease: The effects of fludrocortisone may be increased. You might need to take a lower dose. Let your doctor know if you have a history of liver disease.

For people with hypothyroidism: The effects of fludrocortisone may be increased. You might need to take a lower dose. Let your doctor know if you have a history of thyroid disease.

For people with mood disorders: Fludrocortisone may cause mood swings, personality changes, trouble sleeping, severe depression, or psychosis. Let your doctor know if you have a history of severe depression or other psychiatric disorders.

Warnings for other groups

For pregnant women: Fludrocortisone is a category C pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Research in animals has shown harmful effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. There haven’t been enough studies done in humans to be certain how the drug might affect the fetus.

Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Fludrocortisone should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

Call your doctor if you become pregnant while taking this drug.

For women who are breastfeeding: Corticosteroids may pass into your breast milk. This could cause side effects in your child if you breastfeed while taking fludrocortisone. You and your doctor may need to decide whether you’ll take fludrocortisone or breastfeed.

For seniors: If you’re 65 years or older, you may be more sensitive to the effects from this medication, including its side effects. Your doctor may give you a smaller dose because too much of this drug in your body can be dangerous

For children: The safety and effectiveness of this drug haven’t been established in children. Your doctor should monitor your child’s growth and development closely because this drug may slow down growth in children.

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Dosage

How to take fludrocortisone

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

Drug forms and strengths

Generic: Fludrocortisone

  • Form: oral tablet
  • Strength: 0.1 mg

Dosage for Addison’s disease

Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)

  • The usual dosage is 0.1 mg per day.
  • Fludrocortisone is recommended in combination with cortisone (10–37.5 mg per day in divided doses) or hydrocortisone (10–30 mg per day in divided doses).

Child dosage (ages 0-17 years)

Dosage for people younger than 18 years hasn’t been established.

Dosage for salt-losing adrenogenital syndrome

Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)

The usual dosage is 0.1–0.2 mg per day.

Child dosage (ages 0-17 years)

Dosage for people younger than 18 years hasn’t been established.

Special dosage warnings

  • Fludrocortisone should be used at the lowest effective dose.
  • You may need additional doses in times of stress (such as trauma, surgery, or severe illness) to avoid further adrenal insufficiency caused by this drug.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we can not 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.

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Take as directed

Take as directed

Fludrocortisone is used for long-term treatment. It comes with risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If you change your dose or stop taking this drug suddenly: Stopping this medication suddenly can cause a disruption in your body’s hormones. This can lead to severe effects, including fatigue, weakness, low blood pressure, body aches and pain, fever, confusion, or coma. These are especially possible if you’ve been on high doses of this drug for a long time. The dosage should always be decreased slowly. Don’t change your dose or stop taking fludrocortisone without talking with your doctor.

If you take too much: If you take too much fludrocortisone, you may develop high blood pressure, swelling, loss of potassium, increased heart size, or noticeable weight gain. Call your doctor or get emergency medical help right away if you take or think you’ve taken too much of this drug, or if you experience any of these symptoms.

What to do if you miss a dose: If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible. However, if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and take the next dose at the usual time. Don’t double the next dose. This could result in dangerous side effects.

How to tell if the drug is working: You may be able to tell if this drug is working if you experience reduced symptoms of salt loss, such as low blood pressure, lightheadedness when you stand up quickly, tiredness, and cravings for salty foods.

Your doctor may monitor your symptoms and do blood tests to make sure the drug is working well for you.

Important considerations

Important considerations for taking fludrocortisone

Keep these considerations in mind if your doctor prescribes fludrocortisone for you.

General

  • You can take fludrocortisone with or without food.
  • If you take your dose once a day, you should take it in the morning.
  • You can cut or crush the oral tablet.

Storage

  • Store this medication at a temperature between 59°F and 86°F (15°C and 30°C).

Refills

A prescription for this medication is refillable. You should not need a new prescription for this medication to be refilled. Your doctor will write the number of refills authorized on your prescription.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you. When flying, never put it into a checked bag. Keep it in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport x-ray machines. They won’t damage your medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled box with you.

Clinical monitoring

Your doctor may perform tests to check your health and make sure the drug is safe and working for you. They include:

  • blood tests, which may check your:
    • blood sugar levels. Fludrocortisone can increase your blood sugar and risk for diabetes.
    • serum electrolytes (sodium, potassium, calcium). Fludrocortisone works by helping you keep salt (sodium) in your body and lose potassium and calcium.
  • bone density tests. Fludrocortisone can increase your risk of osteoporosis because it causes you to lose more calcium.
  • eye tests. Fludrocortisone can increase the pressures inside your eyes and lead to glaucoma.
  • blood pressure test. Fludrocortisone can increase your blood pressure because it helps you retain more salt, which makes your body retain more water.

Your diet

  • This drug prevents your body from losing salt. You may need to decrease the amount of salt in your diet.
  • Fludrocortisone may make you lose potassium, so you might need to take potassium supplements.
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Alternatives

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be more suitable for you than others. Talk to your doctor about possible alternatives.

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 here in 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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