Cortisone is a hormonal steroid naturally produced by the adrenal gland and manufactured synthetically as a drug in the corticosteroid class of drugs. Cortisone and other corticosteroids act as an anti-inflammatory. Cortisone and other corticosteroids are used to reduce inflammation caused by a number of conditions and they also suppress the immune system. The production of cortisone was discovered at the Mayo Clinic and first manufactured by Merck & Co. Cortisone is available by prescription in the form of tablets and topical creams and is also administered by injection.

Side effects of cortisone vary and some can be dangerous. Adverse reactions include sodium and fluid retention, potassium loss, muscle weakness, abdominal discomfort, and immune system suppression. While cortisone acetate may be prescribed in immunosuppressant doses, the complications of a suppressed immune system can occur in any patient, especially with long-term use. These complications include infection, vulnerability to infection and viruses, and difficulty with wounds healing.

Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:-

  • Allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
  • Black, tarry stools
  • Breathing problems
  • Bulging eyes
  • Changes in vision
  • Fever, sore throat, infection, sores that do not heal
  • Frequent passing of urine
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased thirst
  • Pain in hips, back, ribs, arms, shoulders, or legs
  • Swelling of feet or lower legs
  • Unusually weak or tired

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • Confusion, excitement, restlessness
  • Headache
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Skin problems, acne, thin and shiny skin
  • Stomach upset
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Weight gain

Your doctor may recommend cortisone in any form to treat a variety of conditions and complications. Remember to tell your doctor of any other medications you may currently be taking. It is also important to remember not to have any “live” virus immunizations while taking corticosteroids.