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Fludrocortisone

INFORMATION

Uses

Fludrocortisone is used in the treatment of addison's disease (adrenal glands don't produce enough hormones) and congenital adrenal hyperplasia.

How it works

Fludrocortisone belongs to a class of drugs called corticosteroids. It replaces the deficient natural hormone and relieves the signs and symptoms of Addison’s disease. It relieves the signs and symptoms of adrenogenital syndrome by binding to aldosterone receptors in the body. This binding in turn causes retention of salt and water in the body, raises blood pressure and lowers potassium levels. Fludrocortisone reduces inflammation by switching off multiple inflammatory genes (encoding cytokines, chemokines, adhesion molecules, inflammatory enzymes, receptors and proteins) that have been activated during the chronic inflammatory process.

Common side effects

Acne, Psychological dependence, Psychosis, Rash, Abnormal hair growth on a women face and body, Aggravation of peptic ulcer, Gastrointestinal perforation, Gastrointestinal bleeding, Hormone imbalance, Allergic reaction, Slow growth in children and teenagers, Altered heart rate, Memory loss, Anxiety, Congestive cardiac failure, Depression, Fatigue, Fracture, Bruise, Fragile skin, Increased calcium in urine, Decreased potassium level in blood, Impaired healing, Increased blood pressure, Increased risk of infection, Indigestion, Insomnia, Irregular menstrual cycle, Irritation, Lip swelling, Loss of muscle mass, Muscle weakness, Swelling, Salt and water retention, Skin bleeding, Stomach ulcer, Stretch marks, Cushing syndrome

AVAILABLE MEDICINE

Expert advice

  • Fludrocortisone should be cautiously in children who are suffering from or are exposed to other children suffering from chickenpox, measles or other communicable diseases.
  • When increased glucocorticoid effect is desirable (such as during physical trauma, major surgery or severe illness), doctor might prescribe cortisone or hydrocortisone along with fludrocortisone tablets.
  • Inform the doctor if you are suffering from any intestinal, bowel disorder or stomach ulcer, liver, kidney or thyroid disease, infection or inflammation of vein(s) in legs, mental disorder (especially depression) in self or family member, recurrent fits, any form of cancer, osteoporosis (thin or brittle bones), periodic weakness of muscles (especially myasthenia gravis), high blood pressure, heart failure, increased eye pressure (glaucoma), diabetes, or have had bowel surgery.
  • You may be more likely to experience side effects of fludrocortisone if you are >65 years of age.
  • When given to the patients who are <18 years old, fludrocortisone may lead to retarded growth.

Frequently asked questions

Fludrocortisone

Q.Is fludrocortisone a steroid?
Fludrocortisone is a corticosteroid. It is used to treat Addison's disease (inability of adrenal glands to produce adequate natural corticosteroid natural hormones), and salt-losing adrenogenital syndrome (a form of hormone imbalance resulting from abnormal steroid production by the adrenal glands and associated with loss of salt in the urine), and as an anti-inflammatory agent

Q.Is it used for blood thinning or in low blood pressure?
Fludrocortisone is not used for blood thinning or to lower blood pressure

Q.Does fludrocortisone cause weight gain/ weight loss/ hair loss/ adrenal suppression/ hypokalemia / rise in blood pressure or affect birth control?
Fludrocortisone can cause weight gain, rise in blood pressure, hypokalemia (reduced blood potassium level) and adrenal suppression in overdoses. It does not cause hair loss or affect birth control

Q.Does fludrocortisone affect cortisol level?
Yes, constant administration of fludrocortisone reduces endogenous cortisol levels

Q.Is fludrocortisone gluten free?
Yes. Fludrocortisone is gluten free. However, please refer to package insert of the prescribed brand before use

Q.Is fludrocortisone addictive?
Fludrocortisone does not seem to have habit forming potential. Patient's disease can however become dependent on fludrocortisone, in which case the signs and symptoms subside only in the presence of fludrocortisone, and return once the medicine is stopped. In such cases, usually medicines other than corticosteroids are used

Q.Is fludrocortisone safe?
Fludrocortisone is safe when taken at prescribed dose and duration as advised by your doctor

Q.Can I take ibuprofen with fludrocortisone?
Said combination is not advisable. Ibuprofen and fludrocortisone when taken together can increase the chances of bleeding from stomach ulcer, if present.


Content on this page was last updated on 15 October, 2016, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)