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Hydrocortisone is a medication used in skin conditions such as eczema. It is a type of drug known as a corticosteroid.

Please note that we do not offer this medication via our online service. Speak to your doctor if you need to renew your prescription for this treatment.

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PLEASE NOTE: This treatment is not available through our online pharmacy service. This page is for information only. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms related to the condition(s) this medication treats, we strongly recommend that you see your GP in person.

This content was reviewed by a clinician on

31 August 2020
dr daniel

Dr Daniel Atkinson

(GP Clinical Lead - GMC No. 4624794) 31 August 2020
Product information

Hydrocortisone is a generic cream used to medicate certain skin conditions, such as eczema, and is made by Actavis. It works by reducing the inflammatory response in the body responsible for the condition, thereby alleviating irritation and redness. The cream is a corticosteroid, and is applied to the region displaying symptoms two or three times per day, usually for no longer than one week. Hydrocortisone is only available to buy on prescription.

  1. Available as a topical cream
  2. Fights eczema symptoms 
  3. Helps to reduce skin irritation

Eczema is a condition which affects the skin, causing it to become very dry. It tends to be chronic in nature, going through periods of flare-up and remission. Symptoms include redness, irritation, itching, and cracks in the skin. At present, there is no cure for the condition, but treatment can help to alleviate symptoms.

No-one really knows why eczema occurs. Because it is often associated with allergic illnesses like asthma and hayfever, many experts believe that it is linked to the immune system overreacting and sending inflammatory chemicals to the affected region. Triggers include contact with irritants in shampoos and soaps, pollen, and sometimes even certain types of food. Fluctuating hormone levels can also set symptoms off.

Emollients can help to provide relief. However, in some cases where over-the-counter products are not sufficient, prescription treatment might be necessary. Hydrocortisone is one such type. This works by countering the effects of inflammatory chemicals responsible for causing symptoms, and calming irritation in the affected area.

Please note that this medicine is not available through our site. If you have eczema symptoms and are seeking treatment for the first time, you should see your doctor for a face-to-face consultation.

They will be able to assess your symptoms and determine the best course of treatment for you.

Page last reviewed:  31/08/2020

It is vital to follow the directions issued by your prescriber when taking this cream, and also to read the guidelines in the patient information leaflet carefully. This will help you to reduce the likelihood of side effects and maximise the efficacy of the medication.

  1. Apply as instructed.
  2. This will usually be a thin layer of cream applied to the affected area two to three times per day, for no longer than a week.
  3. Never exceed the prescribed amount.
  4. If you forget to take it, you can do so when you remember provided your next dose is not due soon. If it is, skip the one you have missed and take the next dose as scheduled.

The above is intended only as a guide. For more detailed instructions, please refer to those provided in the leaflet supplied.

Download PDF


Page last reviewed:  31/08/2020
Please read the patient information leaflet for this medicine fully before use:

Hydrocortisone 0.5

Side effects & Warnings

Inform your doctor if you notice any signs of: an allergic reaction, which may include swelling of the face, lips, tongue or throat, or difficulty breathing or swallowing; change in the colour of the skin; increased growth of hair in areas where the cream is used; localised rash or irritation.

More details on side effects can be found in the leaflet provided.

Taking it with other medicines

Let your doctor know if you are using any other treatments.

Conditions to look out for

This product should not be used by persons who have: a skin condition caused by an infection not being treated with appropriate medication; scabies; rosacea; or dermatitis in the facial region.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Speak to your doctor before using this product if you are pregnant, become pregnant, are trying to conceive or are breastfeeding.

Page last reviewed:  31/08/2020
Please read the patient information leaflet for this medicine fully before use:

Hydrocortisone 0.5


Can I still drink alcohol?

It is not likely that alcohol will directly influence the function of this product.

Will I still be able to drive?

Yes. This item is not likely to affect your ability to drive safely.

Can I use this medicine while pregnant?

It may not be. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning to become pregnant, let your doctor know before using this medication.

How do I store it?

Keep it in a safe place below 25°C out of the reach of children.

Am I allergic to anything in the medicine?

In this medication are the following ingredients: hydrocortisone, chlorocresol, cetomacrogol, cetostearyl alcohol and paraffin.

Do not use it if you are allergic to any of these constituents.

Is it available over-the-counter?

To buy hydrocortisone in the UK, you will need a prescription from a doctor. This is so that they can make sure that this product is suitable for you to use.

Is it right for me?

It depends on what your GP decides. If you have not used eczema treatment before, you should see your GP so that they can have a look at the symptoms you have, and decide on a suitable course of treatment.

We do not currently offer this item through our service. Speak to your GP if you would like to know more about whether this treatment can help you relieve symptoms.

Page last reviewed:  31/08/2020 is rated 4.9 out of 5 by 3129 customers on TrustPilot!
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