1. About hydrocortisone buccal tablets
Hydrocortisone buccal tablets are small white pellets which stick gently to the inside of your mouth and release hydrocortisone as they dissolve.
Hydrocortisone is a type of medicine known as a corticosteroid or 'steroid'. Corticosteroids are not the same as anabolic steroids.
Hydrocortisone buccal tablets relieve the soreness of mouth ulcers and speed up healing.
This medicine is available on prescription. You can also buy hydrocortisone buccal tablets from pharmacies.
Other types of hydrocortisone
There are different types of hydrocortisone, including skin creams, injections and foam.
2. Key facts
- You put hydrocortisone buccal tablets directly on top of the mouth ulcer. It's usual to use 4 hydrocortisone buccal tablets a day for up to 5 days.
- Leave the tablet to dissolve slowly against the mouth ulcer. If you swallow or suck buccal tablets they won't work.
- If you have more than 1 mouth ulcer, move the tablet around your mouth between them. Don't use more than 1 tablet at a time or use more than 4 in a day.
- Don't use buccal tablets for mouth ulcers which are caused by dentures (false teeth), an injury or an infection - they could make these ulcers worse.
- Hydrocortisone buccal tablets are also called by the brand name Corlan tablets.
3. Who can and can't take hydrocortisone buccal tablets
Hydrocortisone buccal tablets can be used by adults and children more than 1 month old.
Children under 12 years old should only use these tablets if their doctor prescribes them. Hydrocortisone buccal tablets aren't suitable for some people.
Tell your doctor before starting the medicine if you:
- have ever had an allergic reaction to hydrocortisone or any other medicine
- are intolerant to lactose
- have a mouth infection or injury
- wear dentures (false teeth)
- keep getting mouth ulcers or they get worse
- have ulcers on other parts of your body
- are pregnant or trying to get pregnant
If your dentures are making your mouth sore or you think you might have a mouth injury or infection, do not use hydrocortisone buccal tablets. They could make the problem worse. It's best to see a doctor or dentist.
4. How and when to use them
Each hydrocortisone buccal tablet contains 2.5mg of hydrocortisone.
It's usual to use 4 tablets a day for up to 5 days. Try to leave 3 to 4 hours between tablets.
If the ulcer heals before 5 days you can stop using the tablets.
If the ulcer hasn't healed after 5 days, or if it heals but comes back again, see your doctor.
How to take buccal tablets
Put the buccal tablet in your mouth against the ulcer and let it dissolve there.
Do not chew or swallow the tablet. If this happens, it won't work and you may get unpleasant side effects.
If you have more than 1 mouth ulcer, move the tablet around your mouth between them. Do not use more than 1 tablet at a time or use more than 4 in a day.
What if I forget a tablet?
If you forget a tablet, use it as soon as you remember. If you don't remember until you're within an hour or so of when the next tablet is due, don't worry - just skip the missed dose and go back to the normal routine.
What if I use too many?
Buccal tablets contain a very low dose of hydrocortisone - so using too many by accident is unlikely to harm you. Talk to a pharmacist if you're worried.
5. Side effects
Most people don't have any side effects when they use hydrocortisone buccal tablets for a few days.
Some people feel a sharp pain for a few minutes while the tablet dissolves on the ulcer. This should stop happening after you've been using the tablets for a few days.
Serious side effects
Buccal tablets contain a very small dose of hydrocortisone so it's rare to have a serious side effect.
Side effects in the mouth
If you have a mouth infection, using hydrocortisone buccal tablets can make it worse and cause it to spread.
The tablets can also occasionally cause oral thrush. This is a fungal infection which causes soreness and white patches in the mouth. To help prevent oral thrush, rinse your mouth out with cold water or a mouthwash after the buccal tablet has fully dissolved.
Tell your doctor straight away if your mouth becomes red and sore or if you develop white furry patches on your tongue or inside your mouth - these can be signs of a mouth infection
Side effects in the rest of the body
Occasionally, hydrocortisone from buccal tablets gets into the bloodstream and can cause side effects in other parts of your body.
Call a doctor straight away if you get:
- a very upset stomach or vomitting, very bad dizziness or passing out, muscle weakness, feeling very tired, mood changes, loss of appetite and weight loss - these can be signs of adrenal gland problems
- confused, sleepy, more hungry or thirsty than usual, pass lots of urine, flushing, breathing quickly or have breath that smells like fruit - these can be signs of high blood sugar
Serious allergic reaction
It's extremely rare to have an allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to a hydrocortisone buccal tablet but if this happens to you, contact a doctor straight away.
Urgent advice: Contact a doctor straight away if:
- you get a skin rash that may include itchy, red, swollen, blistered or peeling skin
- you're wheezing
- you get tightness in the chest or throat
- you have trouble breathing or talking
- your mouth, face, lips, tongue or throat start swelling
These are warning signs of a serious allergic reaction. A serious allergic reaction is an emergency.
These are not all the side effects of hydrocortisone buccal tablets. For a full list see the leaflet inside your medicine packet.
You can report any suspected side effect to the UK safety scheme.
6. How to cope with side effects
What to do about
- pain while the tablet dissolves - this pain usually only lasts a few minutes after you put the tablet on the ulcer. It should stop happening after you've been using the tablets for a few days. It may help if you avoid spicy, salty foods and acidic drinks while you're using this medicine. It may also help if you drink cold drinks through a straw. Do not use a straw for hot drinks as you could burn yourself.
7. Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Hydrocortisone buccal tablets are generally safe to use in pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
For more information about how hydrocortisone can affect you and your baby during pregnancy, read this leaflet on the Best Use of Medicines in Pregnancy (BUMPS) website.
For safety, tell your pharmacist or doctor if you're trying to get pregnant, are already pregnant or if you're breastfeeding.
8. Cautions with other medicines
Other medicines - either prescribed or ones you buy from a pharmacy or shop - will not interfere with the way hydrocortisone buccal tablets work.
Mixing hydrocortisone buccal tablets with herbal remedies and supplements
There's very little information about taking herbal remedies and supplements with hydrocortisone buccal tablets.
For safety, tell your pharmacist or doctor if you're taking any other medicines, including herbal remedies, vitamins or supplements.
9. Common questions
How do hydrocortisone buccal tablets work?
Hydrocortisone buccal tablets calm down the soreness and inflammation of mouth ulcers and help them heal.
When will I feel better?
Usually, mouth ulcers will feel less sore within a few days of starting treatment.
How long will I need treatment for?
Mouth ulcers should heal within 5 days of using hydrocortisone buccal tablets. If they haven't got better within 5 days, talk to your doctor.
Can I still have vaccinations?
Yes, using hydrocortisone buccal tablets doesn't stop you having vaccinations.
Can I drink alcohol with it?
Yes, you can drink alcohol while using buccal tablets but be aware that drinking spirits may make your ulcer heal more slowly.
Is there any food or drink I need to avoid?
You can eat and drink normally while using hydrocortisone buccal tablets. However, eating spicy or salty foods and drinking acidic liquids like fruit juice can irritate mouth ulcers and make the pain worse.
Will it affect my fertility?
There’s no firm evidence to suggest that taking hydrocortisone will reduce fertility in either men or women.
Are there other treatments I could use instead?
Rinsing your mouth with very diluted salt water may help ease mouth ulcers.