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Epifoam (Generic Hydrocortisone Topical)

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Why is this medication prescribed?

Hydrocortisone topical is a medication commonly prescribed for various skin conditions due to its anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive properties. It is typically used to relieve itching, redness, swelling, and discomfort associated with various skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, insect bites, allergic reactions, and psoriasis.

How should this medicine be used?

Here’s how hydrocortisone topical is commonly used:

  • Read the Instructions: Always read the patient information leaflet provided with the medication for specific instructions. Follow the directions given by your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Clean and Dry Affected Area: Before applying hydrocortisone, wash the affected area with mild soap and water, then pat it dry.
  • Apply a Thin Layer: Apply a thin layer of hydrocortisone cream, ointment, or lotion to the affected area(s). Rub it in gently until it disappears.
  • Frequency: Hydrocortisone is typically applied to the affected area(s) two to four times daily, or as directed by your doctor. Do not use more of it, use it more often, or use it for a longer time than prescribed.
  • Do Not Cover Treated Areas Unless Instructed: Unless directed by your doctor, do not cover the treated area with bandages or other dressings, as it may increase the absorption of the medication and the risk of side effects.
  • Avoid Contact with Eyes and Mouth: Avoid getting hydrocortisone cream or ointment in your eyes or mouth. If accidental contact occurs, rinse thoroughly with water.
  • Avoid Prolonged Use: Do not use hydrocortisone topical for longer than prescribed. Prolonged use may lead to thinning of the skin, stretch marks, or other skin problems.
  • Monitor for Side Effects: Watch for any signs of skin irritation, allergic reactions, or other side effects. If you experience any adverse reactions, contact your healthcare provider.
  • Follow-up with Healthcare Provider: Follow up with your doctor as scheduled to monitor your progress and adjust treatment if necessary.

It’s important to use hydrocortisone topical exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider to maximize its benefits and minimize the risk of side effects. If you have any questions or concerns about how to use hydrocortisone or its potential side effects, consult your doctor or pharmacist for guidance.

Other uses for this medicine

Some potential off-label uses of hydrocortisone topical include:

  • Pruritus (Itching): It may be used to alleviate itching associated with various causes such as dry skin, insect bites, or allergic reactions.
  • Hemorrhoids: Some formulations of hydrocortisone may be used to relieve itching and discomfort associated with hemorrhoids.
  • Perianal Itching: Hydrocortisone cream may be used to relieve itching around the anus caused by various conditions such as hemorrhoids or dermatitis.
  • Minor Skin Irritations: It may be used to soothe minor skin irritations.

What special precautions should I follow?

As for special precautions when using hydrocortisone topical:

  • Avoid Overuse: Prolonged use of hydrocortisone may lead to skin thinning, stretch marks, or other skin problems. Use it only as directed by your healthcare provider.
  • Avoid Abrupt Discontinuation: Do not abruptly stop using hydrocortisone without consulting your doctor, as it may cause withdrawal symptoms or a rebound effect.
  • Avoid Contact with Eyes and Mouth: Take care to avoid getting hydrocortisone cream or ointment in your eyes or mouth. If contact occurs, rinse thoroughly with water.
  • Use with Caution on Certain Areas: Hydrocortisone should be used with caution on the face, groin, or armpits, as these areas are more sensitive and may absorb more medication.
  • Monitor for Side Effects: Watch for any signs of skin irritation, allergic reactions, or other side effects. If you experience any adverse reactions, contact your healthcare provider.
  • Consult with Healthcare Provider: Inform your doctor about any other medications you are taking, including over-the-counter drugs and supplements, as they may interact with hydrocortisone.
  • Not for Certain Skin Conditions: Hydrocortisone may not be suitable for all skin conditions, so it’s essential to consult with a healthcare provider before using it, especially if you have infections, acne, rosacea, or open wounds.

Always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions and guidance when using hydrocortisone topical to ensure safe and effective treatment.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Regarding special dietary instructions for hydrocortisone topical, there typically aren’t any specific dietary restrictions associated with its use. However, maintaining a balanced diet and adequate hydration can contribute to overall skin health, which may complement the treatment of skin conditions.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

If you forget a dose of hydrocortisone topical, apply it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not apply extra cream or ointment to make up for a missed dose. Applying too much hydrocortisone can increase the risk of side effects. If you have any concerns or questions about missed doses, consult your healthcare provider or pharmacist for guidance.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Hydrocortisone topical is generally considered safe when used as directed, but like any medication, it can cause side effects. Not everyone will experience these side effects, and their severity can vary depending on factors such as the strength of the medication, the duration of use, and individual sensitivity. Common side effects of hydrocortisone topical may include:

  • Skin Irritation: This can manifest as burning, stinging, itching, or redness at the site of application. This is more common with higher-strength formulations or prolonged use.
  • Thinning of the Skin: Long-term use of hydrocortisone topical, especially on thin or sensitive skin areas, can lead to skin thinning, making it more prone to damage and bruising.
  • Stretch Marks: Prolonged use of hydrocortisone topical may contribute to the development of stretch marks, particularly in areas where the skin is thin, such as the face or groin.
  • Skin Discoloration: Hydrocortisone topical may cause changes in skin pigmentation, resulting in lightening or darkening of the skin, especially with prolonged use or on areas with naturally thin skin.
  • Allergic Reactions: Some individuals may experience allergic reactions to hydrocortisone, which can manifest as rash, hives, swelling, or difficulty breathing. Seek medical attention immediately if you experience any signs of an allergic reaction.
  • Increased Hair Growth: In some cases, especially with prolonged use, hydrocortisone topical may lead to increased hair growth in the area of application.
  • Acne or Folliculitis: Hydrocortisone can sometimes worsen acne or cause folliculitis (inflammation of hair follicles), particularly when applied to the face or areas with dense hair growth.
  • Skin Infections: Prolonged use of hydrocortisone topical can increase the risk of developing skin infections, as corticosteroids may suppress the immune system’s response to pathogens.
  • Eye Problems: If hydrocortisone topical accidentally gets into the eyes, it can cause irritation, blurred vision, or other eye problems. Rinse the eyes thoroughly with water if this occurs and seek medical attention if symptoms persist.

It’s essential to use hydrocortisone topical exactly as directed by your healthcare provider and to report any concerning side effects promptly. If you experience severe or persistent side effects, discontinue use and consult your doctor or pharmacist for further guidance.

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?

When it comes to the storage and disposal of hydrocortisone topical, here’s what you should know:


  • Keep hydrocortisone topical out of reach of children and pets.
  • Store it at room temperature, away from excessive heat and moisture.
  • Avoid storing it in the bathroom, as moisture and heat can degrade the medication.
  • Do not freeze hydrocortisone topical unless the specific formulation requires it.


  • Dispose of expired or unused hydrocortisone topical according to local regulations or guidelines.
  • Do not flush hydrocortisone topical down the toilet or drain unless instructed to do so by your healthcare provider or pharmacist.
  • Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal facility for proper disposal methods, such as medication take-back programs or household hazardous waste disposal sites.

In case of emergency/overdose

In case of emergency or overdose of hydrocortisone topical, take the following steps:

  • Seek Medical Attention: If you suspect an overdose or if someone has accidentally ingested hydrocortisone topical, contact your local poison control center or emergency room immediately for guidance.
  • Symptom Management: Follow any instructions given by medical professionals for managing symptoms of overdose, which may include monitoring vital signs, providing supportive care, or administering antidotes if available.
  • Provide Information: Be prepared to provide information about the type and strength of hydrocortisone topical used, the amount ingested or applied, and any other relevant medical history.

What other information should I know?

  • Follow Prescribing Instructions: Use hydrocortisone topical exactly as directed by your healthcare provider. Do not apply more than recommended or for longer than prescribed.
  • Avoid Certain Areas: Avoid applying hydrocortisone topical to sensitive areas such as the face, groin, or armpits unless instructed by your healthcare provider.
  • Potential Interactions: Inform your doctor or pharmacist about any other medications, supplements, or herbal products you are taking, as they may interact with hydrocortisone topical.
  • Regular Follow-up: Follow up with your healthcare provider as scheduled to monitor your progress and discuss any concerns or side effects.
  • Sun Exposure: Limit sun exposure and avoid tanning beds while using hydrocortisone topical, as it can increase sensitivity to sunlight and the risk of sunburn.

By following these guidelines and being informed about proper storage, disposal, and emergency procedures, you can safely use hydrocortisone topical for your skin condition.

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