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How does oral hydrocortisone work?

Hydrocortisone is taken in pill form to decrease inflammation in people with a variety of conditions, including arthritis, lupus and severe allergies and asthma. It works by reducing the activity of your infection-fighting white blood cells. In people with cancer, hydrocortisone can be used to reduce the swelling around a tumor to decrease pressure and reduce pain.

Oral hydrocortisone (Cortef) is also given to people who don't make enough of a similar hormone (cortisol) on their own.

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