Solu-Cortef general information
What is Solu-Cortef used for?
The immune system is the body’s first line of defense that protects against harmful invading organisms or irritants in the environment, responds to injury, or recognises damaged or foreign cells. However, a malfunction of the immune system can result in a wide range of health conditions. These include allergies caused by an overactive immune system. Also, inflammation, when the reason that an immune response was triggered no longer exists, but the inflammatory reaction continues, causing severe health conditions. If the immune system turns against the body’s tissues, this results in autoimmune disease. Allergic and inflammatory reactions can affect many body tissues and organs, including the lungs, intestines, skin, eyes, and joints. Solu-Cortef Act-O-Vial 100mg is a steroid medication used to treat various inflammatory, allergic and immune disorders, to suppress clinical symptoms of the disease.
Solu-Cortef is also helpful in the palliative care of certain tumours such as leukemia and lymphoma to reduce the pain and stress associated with cancer.
Inflammatory and allergy conditions
Solu-Cortef injection is used to treat allergic conditions that do not improve when other more conventional treatments are used. These include asthma, which is a respiratory disorder that can be triggered by an allergic reaction but persists, causing symptoms due to chronic inflammation. Also, dermatitis (a severe allergic skin reaction), allergic rhinitis (hay fever or allergy to house dust mites etc), allergic conjunctivitis (inflammation of the conjunctiva or white parts of the eye), anaphylaxis (severe hypersensitivity reaction to a medication or a bee sting, etc, that can be life-threatening). Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory condition that affects many organs, mainly lungs and lymph glands, and treatment with Solu-Cortef injection helps relieve symptoms.
When the immune system attacks body tissues, mistaking them as foreign, this causes a range of conditions depending on the part of the body involved. These include the bowel and intestines, resulting in the inflammatory bowel diseases Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is known as a collagen autoimmune disease. It can affect any tissue of the body, usually the skin and joints, causing skin rash, pain, swelling and other symptoms, depending on where the body is being attacked. Acquired autoimmune haemolytic anaemia is the depletion of red blood cells because they are destroyed by the immune system. Rheumatoid arthritis is the destruction of the synovial tissue that lines the surface of the joints and causes painful swollen joints. Solu-Cortef injection is used for short-term treatment to relieve symptoms if the condition flares up.
Acute symptoms of other rheumatic conditions caused by inflammation can be relieved by Solu-Cortef injection. These include osteoarthritis (wear and tear of the joints), synovitis (inflammation of the joint lining), bursitis (inflammation of the fluid-filled sac that protects the joints), gouty arthritis (a form of arthritis caused by uric acid deposits in the joints), ankylosing spondylitis (arthritis of the spine which causes some vertebrae to become fused).
Various inflammatory skin diseases can be helped by Solu-Cortef injection if they flare up or become exacerbated (worsen). These include psoriasis (thickened patches of red scaly skin), seborrhoeic dermatitis (dermatitis affecting the oil glands in the skin). Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, also known as severe erythema multiforme, is a severe skin reaction to a medication or an infection. It causes a rash, blisters and flu-like symptoms that can be life-threatening, causing sepsis and multiple organ failure.
Solu-Cortef contains a steroid that is similar to cortisol, a naturally occurring steroid hormone produced by the adrenal glands. Therefore, it can also be used as replacement therapy in endocrine (hormone) conditions caused by low cortisol levels. A deficiency of adrenal hormones can affect many metabolic processes, including regulating the body’s response to stress. Conditions affecting the production of cortisol include congenital adrenal hyperplasia, an inherited disease, and Addison’s disease, also known as adrenal insufficiency that is caused by damage to the adrenal glands.
How does Solu-Cortef work?
Solu-Cortef Act-O-Vial 100mg is a powder for injection containing hydrocortisone, a synthetic corticosteroid hormone that is used to treat various conditions related to allergy and inflammation, and as hormone replacement therapy for cortisol deficiency.
Hydrocortisone in Solu-Cortef Act-O-Vial has potent anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, and anti-rheumatic properties with widespread metabolic effects on most body tissues. It is also an immunosuppressant that can be used to dampen down the immune system. It is a type of steroid hormone known as a glucocorticoid. It works by binding to a specific glucocorticoid receptor that is expressed (made available) inside most cells of the body. Interaction between hydrocortisone and its receptor regulates transcription of specific genes (the process where DNA is converted into RNA, the template for protein synthesis) that controls many aspects of development, metabolism and the immune response.
The anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties of Solu-Cortef are due to blocking the production of inflammatory chemicals, like prostaglandins and leukotrienes, from inflammatory cells of the immune system, such as macrophages. It also stops small blood vessels from becoming leaky, and prevents inflammatory cells migrating to sites of inflammation. These actions of hydrocortisone in Solu-Cortef reduce the swelling, redness, and pain associated with inflammation, and modify the effects of cells involved in the allergic response. Other actions of Hydrocortisone in Solu-Cortef include suppressing immune cell functions such as antibody production and preventing tumour cell growth.
What does Solu-Cortef contain?
Solu-Cortef Act-O-Vial contains the active ingredient hydrocortisone sodium succinate that is used to treat various inflammatory and allergic conditions. It also contains dibasic sodium phosphate, monobasic sodium phosphate monohydrate, sodium hydroxide water for injection, and does not contain any preservative. Each vial delivers 100mg of hydrocortisone when reconstituted.
What are the side effects of Solu-Cortef?
Most medications have some side effects, but they are not experienced by everyone. Some side effects are commonly experienced when taking Solu-Cortef 100mg, but others are not so common, and you should discuss any problems or concerns with your primary care physician.
Common side effects when taking Solu-Cortef include : gastrointestinal disorders (indigestion, ulcers, nausea), increased susceptibility to infection, muscle or bone aches and pains, weight gain, thinning of skin, bone demineralisation, slow wound healing, acne, redistribution of body fat creating the typical moon face, altered vision, menstrual problems. Also, behavioural and mood disturbances such as depression, irritability, anxiety, sleep disturbances.
What are the health risks of taking Solu-Cortef?
Long term use of Solu-Cortef 10mg may cause the adrenal glands, which produce endogenous (naturally occurring) corticosteroids, to stop working efficiently. This may slow down the growth rate in children and will need regular monitoring. Solu-Cortef may also cause decreased bone mineral density, if used for long periods. Long term use of steroids may be associated with a range of side effects such as round face, altered body shape, altered hair growth, thinning of the bones, decreased resistance to infection, increased salt and water retention, increased blood pressure, and diabetes.
When should Solu-Cortef not be used?
Have a talk with your primary healthcare physician before taking Solu-Cortef so that you have a full understanding of what this medicine is for and how to use it. There are some reasons for not taking a medication; these are called contraindications, and for Solu-Cortef you should consider the following before taking Solu-Cortef:
- Have you ever had an unusual reaction or an allergy when taking Solu-Cortef?
- Are you pregnant or breastfeeding?
- Do you have any problems with your kidneys or your liver?
- Do you have a thyroid, stomach, or heart condition?
- Do you have high blood pressure, mood disorders, epilepsy, diabetes, glaucoma or osteoporosis?
- Do you have any infectious disease, acute infection, systemic fungal infection, tuberculosis, or uncomplicated viral hepatitis?
- Are you due to receive a vaccination with a live virus vaccine?
What medications interact with Solu-Cortef?
Some medicines interact with Solu-Cortef and may affect the way it works, or are affected by Solu-Cortef or increase side effects; you should discuss possible interactions with your primary care physician. These may include anti-inflammatories such as diclofenac, ibuprofen, mefenamic acid, phenylbutazone or naproxen, barbiturates, antiepileptics like carbamazepine and phenytoin, antibiotics like clarithromycin, anti-infectives like rifampicin, antifungals like ketoconazole and itraconazole, anticoagulants like warfarin, diuretics like hydrochlorothiazide or frusemide.
If other medications may interact with Solu-Cortef, your doctor will discuss these with you.
How should Solu-Cortef be taken and for how long?
Once the powder in Solu-Cortef Act-O-Vial 100mg has been dissolved in the water-based solvent, following the instruction provided, you will be given treatment under medical supervision. The solution of Solu-Cortef can be given by intravenous injection, intravenous infusion, or by intramuscular injection, depending on what you are being treated for and whether you require emergency treatment. The dose you are given and for how long depends on what you are being treated for and your doctor’s recommendation. Solu-Cortef Act-O-Vial is only intended for short-term treatment to relieve acute symptoms.
Solu-Cortef is particularly helpful where large doses of hydrocortisone are needed rapidly to relieve severe clinical symptoms.
How should Solu-Cortef be stored?
You should store your Solu-Cortef below 25°C in a cool, dry place and protect from light. Once the powder has been reconstituted, it can be stored at 25°C and must be used within three days and then discarded.