Compare Medrol vs. Cortef

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.


Cortef (Hydrocortisone)

Prescription only
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.

3.7/ 5 average rating with 66 reviewsforMedrol
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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
Used for
  • Allergies
  • Skin conditions
  • Endocrine conditions
  • Eye conditions
  • Gastrointestinal conditions
  • Respiratory disorder
  • Multiple Sclerosis flare-up
  • Blood-related conditions
  • Drug-associated allergic reactions
  • Lupus
  • Cancer
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Severe Psoriasis
  • COPD episode
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Injection
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Suppository
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66 reviews so far
saidit'sworth it
saiditworked well
saidit'sa big hassle

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Side effects
The Medrol (methylprednisolone) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
The Cortef (Hydrocortisone) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
Risks and risk factors
  • Weakened immune system response to stress
    • Taking high doses of Medrol (methylprednisolone) for a long period of time
    • Young children
    • Stress such as trauma, injury, or infection
  • Increased risk for infections
    • Taking other medicines that weaken the immune system
    • Taking Medrol (methylprednisolone) for a long time
    • Those who are not vaccinated against viral illnesses
    • Coming into contact with people who have viral illness
    • History of bacterial or viral conditions
  • Changes in heart and kidney function
    • Those who had a recent heart attack
    • History of heart failure, high blood pressure, and kidney problems
  • Eye problems
    • Those with cataracts and/or glaucoma
    • History of herpes simplex in the eye
  • Harm to fetus (unborn baby)
    • Pregnant women
    • Women who can or plan to become pregnant
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Adrenal suppression (HPA axis suppression)
    • Lowering dose or stopping too quickly especially after long-term treatment
    • Stress such as trauma, surgery or infection
  • Increased risk for infections
    • Long-term treatment
    • Not vaccinated against viral diseases
    • Contact with people who have viral illness
    • History of bacterial or viral conditions
  • Kaposi's sarcoma
    • Duration of treatment
  • Psychiatric changes
    • History of psychiatric conditions
  • Bone effects
    • Dose of Cortef (Hydrocortisone)
    • Duration of treatment
  • Harm to fetus
    • Women of childbearing age
  • Stomach and intestinal problems
    • History of stomach bleeding
    • Active or history of stomach or duodenal ulcers
    • Ulcerative colitis
    • Taking Cortef (Hydrocortisone) with other medicine that can cause stomach problems
See more detailed risks and warnings