Fludrocortisone is a man-made medicine that is used to supplement the level of corticosteroids in patients whose bodies do not make enough of this natural hormone. Such deficiency can result in Addison's disease or adrenogenital syndrome.
The medicine essentially replaces the steroid hormones that are otherwise naturally produced in the adrenal cortex. It mimics the functions of natural corticosteroids.
These functions include balancing water and minerals, such as sodium (salt), to maintain the patient's health.
The medication has the potential to weaken the immune system. This may expose patients to the risk of getting infections, including serious infections such as tuberculosis, measles, and chicken pox.
Long-term treatment with the drug in children is also known to affect their growth.
Fludrocortisone is supplied to patients by doctor's prescription only and is sold under the US brand name, Florinef Acetate. It may also be used to treat other conditions not discussed in this guide.
This medicine may put patients at a greater risk of contracting serious infections and may mask the symptoms of infections. Long-term treatment with it may also cause or affect other medical problems in patients.
For these and other reasons, you should decide if the medicine is right for you. In helping to determine if Fludrocortisone is safe for you, your doctor will consider your medical history and the potential risks and benefits involved.
Fludrocortisone may cause some expected side effects. But some unwanted side effects may occur which may or may not require medical attention.
Call your right away if you experience any of the following side effects:
Some patients may experience other side effects not listed here. You can ask your doctor or health care professional about ways to prevent or reduce side effects. You may also call the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 to report side effects.
Fludrocortisone is supplied as a tablet to be taken by mouth only. It may be taken with food or milk to prevent upset stomach.
Take your dose as directed and follow all other directions given to you by your doctor or pharmacist.
Dosage and other directions can be found on the prescription label. They usually include the strength of your dose, time between each dose, and the duration of treatment.
The following is only a recommended dosage guide. You should stick to the dosage directions given to you by your doctor.
Treating corticosteroids deficiency
Adults: Take 50 to 200 micrograms per day.
Children: Take 50 to 100 micrograms per day.
Treating adrenogenital syndrome
Adults: Take 100 to 200 micrograms a day.
Children: Treatment must be determined by a doctor.
Because Fludrocortisone helps the body retain a healthy level of salt, your doctor may place you on a special diet to ensure you have the right salt intake.
If you missed a dose of the tablet, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is time to take the next dose, skip the missed dose and take the next dose on time. An extra dose should not be taken to make up for the missed dose.
Taking more of the medicine than you were told to may cause overdose. Call the local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 or seek urgent medical care if you overdose on this drug. If the patient collapses or is not breathing, call 911.
Using other medicines during treatment with Fludrocortisone may cause interaction. Sometimes, it may be best for the patient's health that other medicines are used. In such cases, your doctor may treat you with caution.
To avoid a significant interaction, Fludrocortisone should not be used with the following medicine. Your doctor may change your dose or how often you take any of your medicines.
It is not recommended that you use the following medicines while taking this steroid. If you are required to take both medicines together, your doctor may change your dose or how often you take any of them.
The risk of side effects may increase if this medicine is taken with any of the medicines on the following list.
If one or more of them must be used during your treatment, your doctor may change the dose or how often you take any of your medicines.
Other medicines not included in the lists may also interact with Fludrocortisone. You may ask your doctor for more information.
Food, alcohol, tobacco, and other medical problems may interact with this medicine.
Your doctor may advise you to use food or milk when taking the tablet.
The presence of other medical problems may affect or be affected by the medicine. Using fludrocortisone with aspirin may worsen the following condition:
The medication may worsen the following condition because more calcium is passed into the urine during treatment:
Fludrocortisone may cause excess retention of salt and water. This may cause the following conditions to worsen:
Patients with the following condition may be at risk for increased side effects because Fludrocortisone's removal from the bloodstream is slower in these patients.
Extra precautions may be taken for children, pregnant or breastfeeding women, and elderly adults.
Tell your doctor if you have had an unusual or allergic reaction to Fludrocortisone or any of its inactive ingredients. Also let your doctor know if you are allergic to other medicines, especially aspirin.
Tell your doctor of any allergies you have to preservatives, dyes, foods, or animals.
Give your doctor a list of all medications you are taking or plan to take, especially Rotavirus Vaccine, Live. Include prescription and over-the-counter medicines (OTC's), vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products in the list.
Certain medical conditions may affect or be affected by the medicine. Tell your doctor if you have or had a fungal infection of the blood, herpes of the eyes, ulcers, tuberculosis, diabetes, or liver, kidney or heart problems.
The medicine is safe for use in children. However, if used for a long time it may slow or stop growth in these patients. It may also cause their bones to become weaker (osteoporosis) and their body to make less of the natural corticosteroids.
There are no specific problems found that would limit the use of this medication in elderly patients. Sometimes the risk of side effects may be greater in elderly patients compared to younger adults.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or may be pregnant. Adequate studies have not been done to determine if using the medicine during pregnancy may cause harm to an unborn baby.
There is no specific information available that suggests the medicine can pass through breast milk and harm a breastfeeding infant.
Fludrocortisone should be stored kept away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep it from freezing and out of the reach of children.
Throw away medicine that is expired or no longer needed. You may ask your healthcare professional or local waste disposal agency how to safely dispose of it.
Fludrocortisone is a safe and effective medicine used in adults and children for steroid hormone replacement therapy.
It does, however, have the potential to weaken the immune system which may put patients at a greater risk of contracting certain serious infections. This risk may be far greater in children, especially those who are not fully immunized.
Long-term treatment with the drug in children is also known to affect their growth, weaken certain bones (osteoporosis) and muscles, and lessen the production of natural corticosteroids.
Once necessary precautions are taken by the doctor and patient, Fludrocortisone may still be safely and effectively used.