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Last reviewed on RxList: 5/15/2017
Cortenema Side Effects Center

Last reviewed on RxList 05/12/2017

Cortenema (hydrocortisone) rectal is a steroid used to treat hemorrhoids and itching or swelling of the rectal area caused by hemorrhoids or other inflammatory conditions of the rectum or anus. Cortenema is also used together with other medications to treat ulcerative colitis, proctitis, and other inflammatory conditions of the lower intestines and rectal area. Cortenema is available in generic form. Common side effects of Cortenema include:

  • pain or burning in the rectum,
  • dizziness,
  • menstrual period changes,
  • trouble sleeping,
  • unusual weight gain,
  • increased sweating,
  • acne, or
  • increased facial or body hair growth.

Tell your doctor if you experience serious side effects of Cortenema including:

  • severe allergic reactions (rash, hives, itching, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, or swelling of the mouth/face/lips/tongue),
  • fever,
  • vision changes,
  • persistent headache,
  • swelling ankles or feet,
  • increased thirst or urination,
  • puffy face,
  • thinning skin,
  • unusual skin growths,
  • slow wound healing,
  • persistent rectal bleeding,
  • unusual bruising or bleeding,
  • black or tarry stools,
  • vomit that looks like coffee grounds,
  • severe stomach or abdominal pain,
  • severe heartburn,
  • bone pain,
  • easily broken bones,
  • mental/mood changes (such as depression, mood swings, agitation),
  • muscle weakness or pain,
  • irregular heartbeat,
  • signs of infection (such as fever, persistent sore throat, painful urination, worsening redness or irritation near the anus), or
  • seizures.

The usual course of therapy is one Cortenema nightly for 21 days, or until the patient comes into remission. Before using Cortenema rectal, tell your doctor if you use insulin or oral diabetes medications. Other drugs may interact with Cortenema. Tell your doctor all prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. During pregnancy, Cortenema should be used only when prescribed and not for prolonged periods. Other forms of hydrocortisone (given by mouth or by injection) may harm a fetus. Infants born to mothers who have been using this medication may have low levels of the natural corticosteroid hormone in their bodies and may need more monitoring. Tell your doctor if you notice symptoms such as vomiting, severe diarrhea, or weakness in your newborn. It is unknown if this drug passes into breast milk. It is unlikely to harm a nursing infant. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.

Our Cortenema (hydrocortisone) Side Effects Drug Center provides a comprehensive view of available drug information on the potential side effects when taking this medication.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Cortenema Consumer Information

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • feeling short of breath, even with mild exertion;
  • swelling of your ankles or feet;
  • muscle weakness;
  • rapid weight gain, especially in your face and midsection;
  • severe rectal pain or burning;
  • bleeding from your rectum;
  • severe stomach pain;
  • sudden and severe headache or pain behind your eyes; or
  • seizure (convulsions).

Less serious side effects may include:

  • mild rectal pain or burning;
  • acne;
  • changes in your menstrual periods;
  • increased sweating; or
  • increased facial or body hair growth.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Read the entire detailed patient monograph for Cortenema (Hydrocortisone)

Cortenema Professional Information


Local pain or burning, and rectal bleeding attributed to CORTENEMA® have been reported rarely. Apparent exacerbations or sensitivity reactions also occur rarely. The following adverse reactions should be kept in mind whenever corticosteroids are given by rectal administration.

Fluid and Electrolyte Disturbances : Sodium retention; fluid retention; congestive heart failure in susceptible patients; potassium loss; hypokalemic alkalosis; hypertension. Musculoskeletal: Muscle weakness; steroid myopathy; loss of muscle mass; osteoporosis; vertebral compression fractures; asceptic necrosis of femoral and humeral heads; pathologic fracture of long bones. Gastrointestinal: Peptic ulcer with possible perforation and hemorrhage; pancreatitis; abdominal distention; ulcerative esophagitis. Dermatologic: Impaired wound healing; thin fragile skin; petechiae and ecchymoses; facial erythema; increased sweating; may suppress reactions to skin tests. Neurological: Convulsions; increased intracranial pressure with papilledema (pseudo-tumor cerebri) usually after treatment; vertigo; headache. Endocrine: Menstrual irregularities; development of Cushingoid state; suppression of growth in pediatric patients; secondary adrenocortical and pituitary unresponsiveness, particularly in times of stress, as in trauma, surgery or illness, decreased carbohydrate tolerance; manifestations of latent diabetes requirements for insulin or oral hypoglycemic agents in diabetics. Ophthalmic: Posterior subcapsular cataracts; increased intraocular pressure; glaucoma; exophthalmos. Metabolic: Negative nitrogen balance due to protein catabolism.

Read the entire FDA prescribing information for Cortenema (Hydrocortisone)

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© Cortenema Patient Information is supplied by Cerner Multum, Inc. and Cortenema Consumer information is supplied by First Databank, Inc., used under license and subject to their respective copyrights.

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