Fludrocortisone is a lab-made version of glucocorticoid. This drug is prescribed when your body makes a lesser amount of corticoids. Low level of production is attributed to a few medical conditions associated with your adrenal gland. Without an optimal production, it is quite difficult for your body to maintain water and salt level at a balanced level. Drugs such as fludrocortisone help decrease autoimmune conditions like inflammation, internal swelling, etc. At times, this drug is taken along with other meds like hydrocortisone. But, how does fludrocortisone compare with hydrocortisone? Are these two drugs similar? You are advised to know more on this before starting your treatment.

Your system needs a natural substance known as glucocorticoids to streamline absorption of sugars and salt into cells. These substances also exert ample control on the presence of water; such control is essential to keep blood pressure at a normal level. As an extended measure, the extent of fats absorbed and eventually converted into energies are also influenced by the optimal presence of glucocorticoids. Owing to this, glucocorticoids can prevent autoimmune conditions that are inflammatory in nature; these are conditions like asthma, bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD), allergies and painful conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. Among people where such corticoids are not adequately produced, man-made supplements such as fludrocortisone are widely prescribed.

What is fludrocortisone and its uses?

Fludrocortisone is labelled under a class of drugs called corticosteroids. These drugs make your body to retain adequate amount of salt and water. Soon after starting your medication plan, you are likely to experience hypertension, cardiac problems and a reduced level of potassium. You may witness a few adverse side effects like abnormal heartbeats, excessive weariness and pains. Fludrocortisone is also used for suppressing your immunity level. This is likely to result in infectious conditions like flu or common cold. So, those who have had episodes of microbial infections need to tell their caregiving team of such prior infections. Also, take note of early signs of infections like shaking or tremors, fever, cold, soreness of throat, etc.

What is hydrocortisone and its uses?

This is also an artificial form of cortisol; it is commonly administered for treating adrenal insufficiency. Hydrocortisone works to bolster sagging cortisol levels. People who had their adrenal glands surgically removed or those living with hormonal conditions such as Addison’s disease are advised to take these supplements. As an added use, this steroid drug is also administered when pituitary glands are not working well. Hydrocortisone is sold both as a soluble form and as a sustained release version. You are advised to take needful inputs from your treating physician prior to taking this med.

How does fludrocortisone compare against hydrocortisone?

There are a few apparent differences in between these two steroids. The most glaring difference rests on the half-life period. Fludrocortisone has a half-life of 36 hours while the corresponding time taken for hydrocortisone is 12 hours.

Fludrocortisone is likely to trigger a few side effects such as rashes, hives or formation of blisters, peeling and itchiness of skin. Some users have observed a few mental conditions like being depressed, having weird thoughts, anxieties or phobias. If you are diabetic, your sugar levels are likely to increase. So, those who witness persistent spells of hunger and thirstiness must meet their treating physician without much delay.

On the other hand, hydrocortisone may cause adverse reactions and side effects such as swelling of ankles, headache or severe spells of migraines, drowsiness or extreme levels of dizziness. In most instances, tiredness or weakness is also likely to show up. If you have had prior episodes of eye problems or infections or conditions such as chickenpox / measles, hypothyroid conditions coupled with slow healing rates, your caregiver must be aware of these conditions.

As a general safety measure, keep away from water pills or diuretics, as the risks of losing potassium are likely to worsen. Beware of taking cardiac drugs like digoxin as these may also aggravate the loss of potassium. Upon observing excessive tiredness, erratic pulse rates or heartbeats, you are advised to check potassium level in blood. On the similarities side, both these drugs are labelled as category C meds. Hence, needful precautions are required among pregnant women. It is unsafe for child-bearing women to take either of these meds without proper guidance and supervision of a qualified medical practitioner.

Other similarities between hydrocortisone and fludrocortisone

It is essential to tell your doctor of other drugs you are presently taking. It is safer to make a list of all the meds present in your treatment plan. As you are making this list, add over the counter medications, prescription drugs, protein / vitamin or mineral supplements, herbal or dietary aids. If you are having mental problems like anxieties, restlessness or any mood based conditions, consult with your mental health specialist prior to commencing your treatment.

Both these cortisones may hide typical symptoms of infections. Upon sensing signs such as sneezing, tremors, a stuffed nose / runny nose, seek clinical support on an urgent mode. It is a good practice to stay away from those who are infected. As a safety measure, never visit places that have infected people like a clinic or hospital.

Intake of painkilling meds like naproxen, aspirin, etc. or other forms of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) do not go well with these steroids. Consumption of NSAIDs with fludrocortisone and / or hydrocortisone may impair your stomach or intestinal linings. If left unchecked, you are likely to witness ulcers and internal bleeding. In the list of NSAIDs currently consumed, it becomes essential to add drugs such as celecoxib, ibuprofen, etc.

In one-off cases, people who took either of these two meds observed discomforts like inflammation oral parts such as lips, tongue, gums, etc. or slowdown of breathing. In such instances, call 911 or the helpdesk of FDA without much delay. Residents of Canada are advised to quickly reach out to a poison control center or Health Canada.

In sum, there are a few differences and similarities in between fludrocortisone and hydrocortisone. Fludrocortisone has a half-life period of 36 hours and the same for hydrocortisone is only 12 hours. Fludrocortisone is likely to trigger a few side effects such as rashes, hives or formation of blisters, peeling and itchiness of skin. But, hydrocortisone may cause side effects like swelling, headache, drowsiness, tiredness, etc. In general, it is safe to consult with a qualified doctor to know more of these two meds before starting your dosage plan.

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