View Full Version : Difference bewteen OTC and prescription hydrocortisone cream

05-16-2006, 09:03 AM
I have a rather impressive case of poison ivy that is now 16 days past initial exposure and continuing to worsen. My doctor prescribed a hydrocortisone valerate cream for the itching. I also have an OTC hyrdocortisone cream that is billed as being "Maximum strength" at 1%. The prescription cream shows 0.2% (and also says specifically each gram contains 2mg).

Why is a prescription required for a cream that has a weaker concentration of the active ingredient? Or is it somehow fundamentally different despite that they both say hydrocortisone?

Neither one helps all that much anyway. :(

(I'm also taking a course of prednisone but it's not clear whether it's helping--rash on the areas of exposure are improving but still itch like crazy, and I'm getting rash elsewhere that continues to worsen.)

05-16-2006, 11:26 AM
Basically, you canot compare hydrocortisone with hydrocortisone valerate. Apples and oranges. This page compares relative strenth of some different corticosteroids for topical use: