Medicines & Supplements A to Z > Hydrocortisone


Last updated on June 27, 2019.

Overview   |   Dosage   |   Side Effects   |   Where To Buy  

GENERIC NAME: Hydrocortisone 


COMMON BRANDS IN HONG KONG: Axcel Hydrocortisone, Efficort, Egocort, H-Cort, Hydrocortisone Micronised, Sigmacort

What is Hydrocortisone for?

Hydrocortisone belongs to a class of medications called glucocorticoids or steroid hormones. It mainly works by reducing inflammation with a wide range of uses, including: 

  • Mild inflammatory skin disorders such as eczemas 
  • Nappy rash 
  • Acute allergic reactions such as angioedema of the upper respiratory tract and anaphylaxis
  • Corticosteroid replacement for those taking more than 10 mg prednisolone daily within 3 months of moderate or major surgery, or minor surgery under general anaesthesia) 
  • Corticosteroid replacement for adrenocortical insufficiency 
  • Severe inflammatory bowel disease 
  • Ulcerative colitis 
  • Proctitis 
  • Proctosigmoiditis

How to use it?

For mild inflammatory skin disorders such as eczemas 

To the skin 

Adult / Child 

Apply thinly 1-2 times daily. 


For nappy rash 

To the skin 


Apply 1-2 times daily for no longer than 1 week, discontinue as soon as the inflammation is resolved.  


For replacement in adrenocortical insufficiency 

Orally using immediate-release medicines 


20-30 mg daily in divided doses; Your doctor may adjust the dose according to your response.  


For ulcerative colitis / proctitis / proctosigmoiditis 

Rectally using rectal foam 


Initially 1 metered application 1-2 times daily for 2-3 weeks, then reduce to 1 metered application once daily on alternate days.

What are the side effects of Hydrocortisone?

When used as a cream or ointment, minimise the period of time you use Hydrocortisone as long-term use can cause skin thinning. When Hydrocortisone is taken by mouth for long-term use, it can have more serious side effects such as anxiety, cataracts, cognitive impairment, fat redistribution (moon face and buffalo hump), fluid retention, gastrointestinal discomfort, headache, impaired wound healing, high blood pressure, increased risk of infection, menstrual cycle irregularities, and osteoporosis.

Where to buy Hydrocortisone in Hong Kong?

Many skin creams or ointments containing Hydrocortisone are over-the-counter pharmacy only medicines in Hong Kong. Other forms are prescription only medicines. As for pharmacy only medicines, they are over-the-counter medicine and can be purchased without a prescription in a pharmacy by speaking with the pharmacist. They can also be obtained from doctors. As for prescription only medicines, they require a prescription from a doctor to be purchased in a pharmacy. They can also be obtained from doctors. To find a pharmacy near you, refer to the list of pharmacies (“Authorized Sellers of Poisons”) from the Hong Kong Department of Health.

For more information about drug names and ingredients, you can visit Hong Kong’s Drug Office at

For detailed information about the use of Hydrocortisone in children, pregnancy and breastfeeding, and for questions about drug interactions, please check with your pharmacist or doctor.

Disclaimer: our goal is to provide you with the most relevant drug information and common dosage for Hong Kong. This information does not constitute medical advice. For specific treatment recommendations and advice, always discuss with your doctor or pharmacist, and follow the instructions included with your specific medicine.