What is Cortisone?

Cortisone, also known as ‘Corticosteroid’, is a steroid medicine widely used to lessen inflammation and pain. Cortisone is a human-made hormone with similar properties and functions such as cortisol, naturally created in human bodies. Generally, Cortisone is prescribed by doctors to treat minor inflammations. It is very popularly used to treat arthritis. However, a doctor may prescribe you Cortisone if you have back pain, gout, osteoarthritis, tendinitis, etc.

How Does It Work?

Cortisone is used to treat inflammatory conditions. This prescription drug is used to treat diseases such as arthritis, bursitis, gout, allergic reactions, and even certain cancers.

Once the drug enters the body, it reduces its natural defense system, which causes swelling or tenderness as an immunity response. That is why symptoms like swelling and tenderness are reduced, and the patient feels relieved.

Cortisol vs. Cortisone

Cortisol is a hormone that is naturally produced by the human body with other types of hormones. As we know, every kind of hormone has specific functions; the function of cortisol is to reduce swelling, tenderness, and pain in the human body.

Cortisone is a human-made hormone that is very similar to cortisol. There are hardly any differences except that Humans make Cortisone, and cortisol is produced naturally in our bodies.

How to Take Cortisone?

Cortisone or Corticosteroid is available in many different forms, such as pills that are to be swallowed or in the form of liquid that can be administered by injection.

Cortisone pills can be taken with warm milk or water after meals. On the other hand, cortisone shots can be administered in swelling or tenderness to provide instant relief to the patient from pain.

Cortisone is available in 5mg, 10mg, and 25mg tablets. Adults can take 2.5mg of Cortisone orally every 12 hours. However, it is not an over-the-counter medicine. Therefore, one is strongly advised to take medicine as per the doctor’s prescription.

Cortisone is also available in topical cream form. The cream of Cortisone is used to treat skin lesions and other skin irritations as deemed fit by a physician.

There are eye ointments and eye drops of Cortisone. These are used to treat swelling, redness in the eye, etc.

What Happens When You Miss A Dose of Cortisone Or Take One Extra?

Ideally, it would help if you did not take any dose of Cortisone. Neither should you take an extra dose without a doctor’s advice. Nonetheless, if you happen to miss a dose, take one as soon as you get the chance to take it. However, do not take a dose if the date of your next dose has arrived. In that case, it is advised to skip the missed dose.

As far as an extra dose is concerned, consult your physician first and if they give clearance, only then take an extra dose.

Potential Side-effects of Cortisone

Cortisone is a fairly harmless drug with zero side effects when used at the right dosage. However, it doesn’t mean that side effects cannot occur because of Cortisone.

Cortisone can cause insomnia, dizziness, increased appetite, nausea, heartburn, increased weight, and puffiness in the face. With long-term usage of this drug, bone thinning, glaucoma or cataract can develop.

Another common side-effect is that wounds tend to take a much longer time to heal when a patient is using Cortisone.

In women, Cortisone can cause male pattern hair growth.

Cortisone shots administered by injections can have different side effects of their own. The most common side effects include fever and severe body pain.

Cortisone eye drops or ointment may make your eye sensitive to light. Also, if you do not follow proper hygiene rules, eye drops or ointments can cause bacterial infections in your eyes. Plus, patients have complained that cortisone eye drops and eye ointments cause blurriness in vision.

Can Pregnant Women Take Cortisone?

Researchers and professionals consider Cortisone to be a safe medication to be used by pregnant women if Cortisone is being taken at a lower dose.

Excessive use of Cortisone can cause hypertension, edema, osteoporosis, premature rupture of membranes during pregnancy, and many other complexities. However, if the use of Cortisone is restricted to 20mg or less, the risks mentioned above do not occur.

Therefore, pregnant women can safely take Cortisone. Nevertheless, it should not be taken unless a physician advises it.

What Other Drugs Interact With Cortisone?

Before you start taking Cortisone, make sure that you tell your doctor about the other medications that you are using for any other health conditions. Certain medicines can interact with Cortisone and cause health complications.

If you are using any blood thinners, ketoconazole, insulin for diabetes, any seizure medicines, or aspirin at a high dosage, make sure your doctor knows about it before starting your cortisone medication.

The list of drugs that interact with Cortisone is not limited to the medicines mentioned above only. Many over-the-counter vitamins or herbal medications can also interact with Cortisone and thereby cause health complications. Hence, please consult your doctor about the medications you use and be sure if they interact with Cortisone. Otherwise, instead of treating a disease, Cortisone will worsen your health condition.

When Should I Consult My Doctor?

Normally, after taking Cortisone, especially cortisone shots, it is quite normal to have a little fever and pale looking injection site. The use of Cortisone can also cause minor pain. However, consult your doctor immediately and get medical assistance if you have severe bodily ache, high fever, irregular heartbeat, excessive fatigue, shortness of breath, etc.


The first and foremost thing you should do before starting Cortisone or Corticosteroid is to inform your doctor about the other medicines you are using.

Many medications can interact with Cortisone and defeat the purpose of using Cortisone or, even worse, cause deterioration of your health condition. Therefore, it is vital to inform your doctor about your medications.

The use of Cortisone makes your immune system weaker as a side effect. Hence, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle while using Cortisone. Wash your hands regularly so that you don’t come in contact with any infection.

While using this medicine, it is advised for both men and women not to conceive any child as it may put the fetus and mother’s life at risk. However, if you are already pregnant and expecting a child, make sure you have obtained medical clearance from your physician to use Cortisone.

Do not get any vaccine unless your doctor has advised it.

If you experience any side effects, immediately notify your health care team about the symptoms.

If you are a diabetic patient, using Cortisone may increase your blood sugar levels. Hence, kindly notify your doctor about the medications you are using for diabetes before taking Cortisone.

Take Cortisone after your meals to prevent an upset stomach or any burning sensation in the stomach. It is also advised that patients shall restrict the consumption of alcohol or caffeine-infused beverages while using this medicine.

Abruptly stopping the use of Cortisone can also pose significant health risks. So, do not stop using the medication without your physician’s advice.


Like every other drug, Cortisone can work wonders when it is used correctly and for correct purposes. There are a variety of diseases and bodily troubles that Cortisone can provide relief from. Each form of this medication has some distinct advantages. Hence, Cortisone can provide relief from a plethora of health issues. However, it comes with its risks and side effects. If the patient taking Cortisone has any other diseases, treating a health condition using Cortisone becomes tricky as it can interact with other medications and cause more harm than good. That is why this is a prescription medicine, and under no circumstances should Cortisone be used without a registered physician’s guidance.

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