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Hydrocortisone (Molecule of the Month for April 2017)

Cortef, Cortisol

Hydrocortisone is the name for the hormone cortisol when supplied as a medication. Cortisol is produced in humans by the zona fasciculata of the adrenal cortex within the adrenal gland. It is released in response to stress and low blood-glucose concentration. It functions to increase blood sugar through gluconeogenesis, to suppress the immune system, and to aid in the metabolism of fat, protein, and carbohydrates. It also decreases bone formation.

Hydrocortisone is used in the treatment of a wide variety of diseases and conditions principally for glucocorticoid effects as an anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressant agent and for its effects on blood and lymphatic systems in the palliative treatment of various diseases. Uses includes conditions such as adrenocortical insufficiency, adrenogenital syndrome, high blood calcium, thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, dermatitis, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Hydrocortisol prevents the release of substances in the body that cause inflammation.

It is used as an immunosuppressive drug. It may be used topically for allergic rashes, eczema, psoriasis, itching and other inflammatory skin conditions. Topical hydrocortisone creams and ointments are available in most countries without prescription.

Formal Chemical Name (IUPAC)




Picture of Hydrocortisone 3D model

click on the picture of  Hydrocortisone above to interact
with the 3D model of the
Hydrocortisone structure
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Picture of Hydrocortisone


Update by Karl Harrison
(Molecule of the Month for April 2017 )

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