hydrocortisone (hĪˌdrəkôrˈtĭzōnˌ) [key], another name for the steroid hormone cortisol, more especially used to refer to preparations of this hormone used medicinally. Hydrocortisone, introduced in 1952, is more potent than cortisone with respect to medicinal metabolic and anti-inflammatory effects. Like cortisone, it is used to treat Addison's disease, inflammatory and rheumatoid diseases, and allergies. Low-potency hydrocortisone, available over the counter, is used to treat skin irritations. See also corticosteroid drug; steroids.