Prescription onlyLower-cost generic availableClass: Autoimmune

Cortef Alternatives

(hydrocortisone)

Prescription onlyLower-cost generic availableClass: Autoimmune
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Compare Cortef (hydrocortisone) to alternatives

These medications are comparable to Cortef (hydrocortisone) or used for similar purposes.

Cortef
(hydrocortisone)

cortisone

Decadron
(dexamethasone)

Deltasone
(prednisone)

Pred Forte
(prednisolone)

Medrol
(methylprednisolone)

fludrocortisone

Cortef (Hydrocortisone) lowers inflammation, suppresses the immune system, and replaces low cortisol. Cortef (Hydrocortisone) is identical to an essential hormone that humans produce and has been proven to work safely.Coming soon.Calms down your immune system. Decadron (dexamethasone) is a long-acting oral corticosteroid that is very effective in treating allergic reactions and immune conditions, however, if you're taking Decadron (dexamethasone) for a long time, there can be serious side effects.Calms down your immune system. Deltasone (prednisone) is effective for controlling allergic reactions and conditions involving the immune system. It can quickly make you feel better, but Deltasone (prednisone) can cause serious complications and side effects if taken for a long time.Treats eye redness and swelling. Pred Forte (Prednisolone) is strong medicine for eye redness and swelling without exposing the rest of your body to the steroid medicine.Calms down your immune system. Medrol (methylprednisolone) is very effective for controlling allergic reactions and many types of inflammatory conditions, but it is associated with serious and potentially life-threatening side effects if you have to take it for a long time.Treats electrolyte imbalance. Fludrocortisone is one of the first choices used in Addison's disease to help maintain your electrolytes, but there are side effects.
Reviews & ratings
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Have you used Cortef (hydrocortisone)?
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Have you used Cortisone?
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Have you used Decadron (dexamethasone)?
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Reviews for prednisone
59%
+41% better vs. Cortef
45%
+30% better vs. Cortef
20%
+20% better vs. Cortef
540 reviews
Have you used Deltasone (prednisone)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it

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Have you used Pred Forte (prednisolone)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Medrol
59%
+41% better vs. Cortef
53%
+22% better vs. Cortef
23%
+23% better vs. Cortef
Have you used Medrol (methylprednisolone)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it

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Have you used Fludrocortisone?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
CortefCortisonedexamethasoneprednisonePrednisoloneMedrolfludrocortisone

We haven’t found good data for Cortef side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Cortef »

We haven’t found good data for Cortisone side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Cortisone »

The dexamethasone FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about dexamethasone side effects »

The prednisone FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about prednisone side effects »

The Prednisolone FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about Prednisolone side effects »

The Medrol FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about Medrol side effects »

The fludrocortisone FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about fludrocortisone side effects »
How it works
CortefCortisonedexamethasoneprednisonePrednisoloneMedrolfludrocortisone
Cortef (Hydrocortisone) is a short-acting corticosteroid. It lowers inflammation by preventing your capillaries (small blood vessels) from leaking out excess fluid and chemicals that cause swelling.Coming soon.Decadron (dexamethasone) is a corticosteroid that is similar to what your body naturally makes. It reduces swelling and other immune responses that can cause you pain, discomfort, or harm.Deltasone (prednisone) is a corticosteroid similar to a hormone your body naturally makes in response to stress. It helps reduce swelling and blocks the actions of your immune system that normally would cause pain, discomfort, or harm.Pred Forte (Prednisolone) is a steroid that lowers your immune response to allergens and reduces eye redness and swelling.Medrol (methylprednisolone) is a corticosteroid that is similar to a hormone your body naturally makes in response to stress. It helps reduce swelling and blocks the actions of your immune system that normally would cause pain, discomfort, or harm.Fludrocortisone is a corticosteroid that is similar to what your body naturally makes. It is primarily used to maintain the sodium, potassium, and water balance in your body.
Type of medication
CortefCortisonedexamethasoneprednisonePrednisoloneMedrolfludrocortisone
Prescription onlyPrescription onlyPrescription onlyPrescription onlyPrescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
CortefCortisonedexamethasoneprednisonePrednisoloneMedrolfludrocortisone
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Suppository
  • Pill
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Delayed release pill
  • Liquid
  • Eye drops
  • Pill
  • Injection
  • Pill
Used for
CortefCortisonedexamethasoneprednisonePrednisoloneMedrolfludrocortisone
  • Acute Lymphoid Leukemia Adrenal Insufficiency Allergic Disorder Chronic Lymphoid Leukemia Collagen Disease Disorder Of Endocrine System Disorder Of Eye Disorder Of Gastrointestinal Tract Disorder Of Hematopoietic Structure Disorder Of Respiratory System Disorder Of Skin Hodgkins Disease Hypercalcemia Of Malignancy Inflammatory Disorder Of Musculoskeletal System Mycosis Fungoides Neoplastic Disease Nephrotic Syndrome Non Hodgkins Lymphoma Trichinosis Tuberculosis Of Meninges Adjunct
  • Allergies
  • Addisons Disease
Risk factors for serious side effects
CortefCortisonedexamethasoneprednisonePrednisoloneMedrolfludrocortisone
  • Lowering dose or stopping too quickly especially after long-term treatment
  • Stress such as trauma, surgery or infection
  • Long-term treatment
  • Not vaccinated against viral diseases
  • Contact with people who have viral illness
Detailed Cortef (hydrocortisone) risks & warnings »
    Coming soon.
    • Lowering dose or stopping too quickly especially after long-term treatment
    • Stress such as trauma, surgery or infection
    • Taking other immunosuppressants
    • Long-term treatment
    • Not vaccinated against viral diseases
    Detailed Decadron (dexamethasone) risks & warnings »
    • Taking high doses of Deltasone (prednisone) for a long period of time
    • Young children
    • Stress such as trauma, injury, or infection
    • Taking other medicines that weaken the immune system
    • Taking Deltasone (prednisone) for a long time
    Detailed Deltasone (prednisone) risks & warnings »
    • Long-term use
    • History of glaucoma
    Detailed Pred Forte (prednisolone) risks & warnings »
    • Taking high doses of Medrol (methylprednisolone) for a long period of time
    • Young children
    • Stress such as trauma, injury, or infection
    • Taking other medicines that weaken the immune system
    • Taking Medrol (methylprednisolone) for a long time
    Detailed Medrol (methylprednisolone) risks & warnings »
    • Lowering dose or stopping too quickly especially after long-term treatment
    • Stress such as trauma, surgery or infection
    • Taking other immunosuppressants
    • Long-term treatment
    • Not vaccinated against viral diseases
    Detailed Fludrocortisone risks & warnings »
    Pregnancy

    Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

    Research studies with real people found harmful effects on unborn babies, but the benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

    Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

    Price
    CortefCortisonedexamethasoneprednisonePrednisoloneMedrolfludrocortisone
    No price related info.No price related info.
    • Can control immune responses that are causing you discomfort and works quickly to relieve symptoms like swelling, rash, asthma attacks, and pain.
    No price related info.No price related info.No price related info.No price related info.
    Interactions
    CortefCortisonedexamethasoneprednisonePrednisoloneMedrolfludrocortisone
    No interactions related info.No interactions related info.No interactions related info.No interactions related info.No interactions related info.No interactions related info.
    • Fludrocortisone can interact with other drugs and vaccines.
    Food
    CortefCortisonedexamethasoneprednisonePrednisoloneMedrolfludrocortisone
    No food related info.No food related info.
    • Take Decadron (dexamethasone) in the morning with food to minimize stomach upset. If taking an evening dose, take 2-3 hours before bedtime to help you sleep better at night.
    • Take Deltasone (prednisone) in the morning with food to lower your chances of getting stomach upset and having trouble sleeping. For an evening dose, it is best to take the medicine at least 2 to 3 hours before bedtime.
    No food related info.
    • Take Medrol (methylprednisolone) in the morning with food to lower your chances of getting stomach upset and having trouble sleeping. For an evening dose, it is best to take the medicine at least 2 to 3 hours before bedtime.
    No food related info.
    Kidneys and liver
    CortefCortisonedexamethasoneprednisonePrednisoloneMedrolfludrocortisone
    • Adrenal suppression leading to adrenal crisis can occur if you lower your dose or stop taking Cortef (Hydrocortisone) too quickly. Symptoms include joint or muscle pain, extreme low energy and depression. Changes in your Cortef (Hydrocortisone) dose need to be done slowly over time. Talk to your doctor before you make any changes or stop the medication.
    No kidneys and liver related info.
    • Decadron (dexamethasone) can cause high blood pressure, increased salt retention and increased processing of electrolytes by your kidneys. If you have heart failure, high blood pressure, or kidney damage, talk to your doctor.
    • Deltasone (prednisone) can cause high blood pressure, unexplained weight gain, and other changes in the way your kidneys work. If you have a history of heart failure, high blood pressure, or kidney problems, talk to your doctor first before using this medicine.
    No kidneys and liver related info.
    • Medrol (methylprednisolone) can cause high blood pressure, unexplained weight gain, and other changes in the way your kidneys work. If you have a history of heart failure, high blood pressure, or kidney problems, talk to your doctor first before using this medicine.
    No kidneys and liver related info.
    Pain
    CortefCortisonedexamethasoneprednisonePrednisoloneMedrolfludrocortisone
    • Taking Cortef (Hydrocortisone) increases the risk of injury to the lining of your stomach and intestine including irritation, tears/holes and ulcers. You should avoid alcohol/alcoholic beverages because it can worsen stomach irritation. Tell your doctor or get medical care right away if you have stomach pain, notice blood or dark colored stools when you go to the bathroom.
    No pain related info.
    • Taking Decadron (dexamethasone) increases the risk of injury to the lining of your stomach and intestine including irritation and tears. You should avoid alcohol/alcoholic beverages because it can worsen stomach irritation. Tell your doctor and get medical care right away if you have stomach pain or bloody/dark stools when you go to the bathroom.
    • Decadron (dexamethasone) can increase your chance of infection. Call your doctor right away if you have a fever, chills, flu-like signs, cough, pain with passing urine, or a wound that will not heal.
    No pain related info.
    • Let your doctor know if you have eye pain, pressure, infections, or changes in eye sight.
    No pain related info.
    • Taking Fludrocortisone increases the risk of injury to the lining of your stomach and intestine including irritation and tears. You should avoid alcohol/alcoholic beverages because it can worsen stomach irritation. Tell your doctor and get medical care right away if you have stomach pain or bloody/dark stools when you go to the bathroom.
    Weight
    CortefCortisonedexamethasoneprednisonePrednisoloneMedrolfludrocortisone
    • Some people gain weight while taking Cortef (Hydrocortisone). Using a weight loss program, eating smaller portions, and drinking a glass of water before meals tend to help.
    No weight related info.No weight related info.No weight related info.No weight related info.No weight related info.No weight related info.
    Upsides and benefits
    CortefCortisonedexamethasoneprednisonePrednisoloneMedrolfludrocortisone
    • Normal doses of hydrocortisone have been safely and successfully used for over 60 years. It's especially good for people using it as a long-term cortisol supplement.
    • Cortef (Hydrocortisone) converts into cortisol, a natural hormone, which will not interfere with other medications you may be taking.
    • Taking a dose of Cortef (Hydrocortisone) in the evening doesn't affect your ability to sleep.
    • At safe doses, Cortef (Hydrocortisone) can actually increase your body's ability to fight infection.
    Coming soon
    • Effective in treating many conditions.
    • Can improve energy and appetite.
    • Can control immune responses that are causing you discomfort and works quickly to relieve symptoms like swelling, rash, asthma attacks, and pain.
    • Has long-term benefit in calming down the immune system and keeping it from causing your body harm, such as in autoimmune conditions.
    • Available in generic form.
    • Deltasone (prednisone) effectively treats a variety of conditions involving the immune system.
    • Can help improve energy and stimulate your appetite.
    • Works quickly to provide relief for swelling, rash, asthma attacks, and pain.
    • Good long-term treatment option for autoimmune disorders.
    • Deltasone (prednisone) is available in a generic form.
    • Decreases swelling and redness in your eyes.
    • Doesn't cause the same types of side effects that oral forms of steroids do.
    • Medrol (methylprednisolone) is effective for treating a variety of conditions involving the immune system.
    • Can help improve energy and stimulate your appetite.
    • Works quickly to provide relief for swelling, rash, asthma attacks, and pain.
    • Medrol (methylprednisolone) is available in a generic form.
    • Available as blister packs that organize tablets into specific days and times for easier administration.
    • Fludrocortisone is effective in correcting electrolyte imbalances associated with Addison's disease.
    • Generic is available.
    • Only need to take it once daily.
    Downsides and risks
    CortefCortisonedexamethasoneprednisonePrednisoloneMedrolfludrocortisone
    • In the first few weeks, your doctor might adjust the dose of Cortef (Hydrocortisone) multiple times.
    • You may be at an increased risk of infection if you take high doses of Cortef (Hydrocortisone), or if you take it in combination with other immunosuppressive medications.
    • Your body could stop making its own cortisol once it gets used to Cortef (Hydrocortisone). If so, you'll likely have to keep taking Cortef (Hydrocortisone) for a really long time.
    • Depending on why your doctor prescribed Cortef (Hydrocortisone) to you, corticosteroids can have different effects on your body.
    Coming soon
    • Many side effects, particularly with long term use.
    • Side effects include mood changes, trouble sleeping and increase in blood pressure and blood sugar at higher doses.
    • Long-term use can cause problems with skin, bone, eye health and put you at a higher risk for infections.
    • If you've been using corticosteroids for more than 2 weeks, you will need to work with a doctor to get off the medicine slowly.
    • Limited studies conducted with use of steroids during pregnancy or breastfeeding - potential harm to unborn baby.
    • Deltasone (prednisone) can cause unwanted side effects such as mood changes, trouble sleeping, and increase in blood pressure as well as blood sugar at higher doses.
    • Long-term use can cause problems to your skin, bones, eyes, and place you at a higher risk for infections.
    • If Deltasone (prednisone) is used for more than 2 weeks, you will need to work with a doctor to taper off the medicine by gradually decreasing the dose.
    • Deltasone (prednisone) can harm an unborn baby, so it's not a good option for pregnant women.
    • Available only as a prescription medication.
    • You need good hand-eye coordination to get the eye drops into your eyes.
    • Can cause or worsen certain eye conditions.
    • Medrol (methylprednisolone) can cause unwanted side effects such as mood changes, trouble sleeping, and increase in blood pressure as well as blood sugar at higher doses.
    • Long-term use can cause problems to your skin, bones, eyes, and place you at a higher risk for infections.
    • If Medrol (methylprednisolone) is used for more than 2 weeks, you will need to work with a doctor to get off of the medicine by gradually decreasing the dose.
    • Medrol (methylprednisolone) can cause harm to an unborn baby, so it might not be a good option for pregnant women.
    • Might cause abnormal growth and development when used in children.
    • Fludrocortisone can cause reactivation of old infections such as Hepatits B, C, or tuberculosis.
    • Fludrocortisone can make it easier for you to get sick.
    • Fludrocortisone can interact with other drugs and vaccines.
    • While on Fludrocortisone, you may need to have blood tests done for monitoring.
    Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
    CortefCortisonedexamethasoneprednisonePrednisoloneMedrolfludrocortisone
    • You can crush the tablets and take Cortef (Hydrocortisone) with your food or drink. Do not open up a capsule, since they need to be swallowed whole.
    • Be sure not to stop taking Cortef (Hydrocortisone) suddenly, as it can lead to loss of appetite, nausea, weakness, low blood pressure, and low blood sugar.
    • Some people gain weight while taking Cortef (Hydrocortisone). Using a weight loss program, eating smaller portions, and drinking a glass of water before meals tend to help.
    Coming soon
    • The dose and how long you need to take the medicine for depends on your specific condition and response.
    • Take Decadron (dexamethasone) in the morning with food to minimize stomach upset. If taking an evening dose, take 2-3 hours before bedtime to help you sleep better at night.
    • Decadron (dexamethasone) can cause an increase in appetite and water retention, as well as changes in mood.
    • Decadron (dexamethasone) can increase blood pressure and blood sugar with higher doses. If you have high blood pressure or diabetes, it is important that you check your blood pressure and blood sugar regularly while taking this medicine.
    • If you need to take Decadron (dexamethasone) for longer than 2 weeks, you may need to gradually stop taking this medication. Take it exactly as your doctor prescribed and do not stop suddenly.
    • Decadron (dexamethasone) can increase your chance of infection. Call your doctor right away if you have a fever, chills, flu-like signs, cough, pain with passing urine, or a wound that will not heal.
    • Take Deltasone (prednisone) in the morning with food to lower your chances of getting stomach upset and having trouble sleeping. For an evening dose, it is best to take the medicine at least 2 to 3 hours before bedtime.
    • Deltasone (prednisone) can increase your appetite, make your body retain more water, and cause changes to your mood.
    • Deltasone (prednisone) can increase your blood pressure and blood sugar at higher doses. If you have high blood pressure or diabetes, it is important that you check your blood pressure and blood sugar regularly while taking this medicine.
    • If you need to take Deltasone (prednisone) for longer than 2 weeks, you may need to gradually stop taking this medicine. Take it exactly as your doctor told you and do not stop suddenly.
    • Deltasone (prednisone) can increase your chances of getting an infection. Call your doctor right away if you have a fever, chills, flu-like symptoms, cough, pain with passing urine, or a wound that will not heal.
    • Shake the eye drops well before using.
    • Press your finger gently on the inner corner of your eye after the drops are in to keep them there.
    • Wait 1 minute between each drop if you're giving yourself more than 1 drop.
    • If you have other eye drops, wait 5 minutes in between different sets of eye drops.
    • If your symptoms don't get better after 2 days, you may need to try a different medicine.
    • Let your doctor know if you have eye pain, pressure, infections, or changes in eye sight.
    • Take Medrol (methylprednisolone) in the morning with food to lower your chances of getting stomach upset and having trouble sleeping. For an evening dose, it is best to take the medicine at least 2 to 3 hours before bedtime.
    • Medrol (methylprednisolone) can increase your appetite, make your body retain more water, and cause changes to your mood.
    • Medrol (methylprednisolone) can increase your blood pressure and blood sugar at higher doses. If you have high blood pressure or diabetes, it is important that you check your blood pressure and blood sugar regularly while taking this medicine.
    • If you need to take Medrol (methylprednisolone) for longer than 2 weeks, you may need to gradually stop taking this medicine. Take it exactly as your doctor told you and do not stop suddenly.
    • While you are on this medicine, don't get any live vaccines, unless approved by your doctor.
    • Medrol (methylprednisolone) can increase your chances of getting an infection. Call your doctor right away if you have a fever, chills, flu-like symptoms, cough, pain with passing urine, or a wound that will not heal.
    • Take Fludrocortisone in the morning if you're taking it once a day, with or without food.
    • If you're on Fludrocortisone for a long period of time, watch out for any symptoms of illness, and let your doctor know right away.
    • Let your doctor know you're on this medicine before you receive any vaccines.
    • Fludrocortisone can re-activate any old infections you may have. Let your doctor know if you have or had hepatitis B, C, or tuberculosis.
    Learn more
    More about CortefSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
    Have you used Cortef (hydrocortisone)?
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    More about CortisoneSide effectsReviews & ratingsFDA package insert
    Have you used Cortisone?
    Worth itNot sureNot worth it
    More about dexamethasoneSide effectsReviews & ratingsFDA package insert
    Have you used Decadron (dexamethasone)?
    Worth itNot sureNot worth it
    More about prednisoneSide effectsReviews & ratingsFDA package insert
    Have you used Deltasone (prednisone)?
    Worth itNot sureNot worth it
    More about PrednisoloneSide effectsReviews & ratingsFDA package insert
    Have you used Pred Forte (prednisolone)?
    Worth itNot sureNot worth it
    More about MedrolSide effectsReviews & ratingsFDA package insert
    Have you used Medrol (methylprednisolone)?
    Worth itNot sureNot worth it
    More about fludrocortisoneSide effectsFDA package insert
    Have you used Fludrocortisone?
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