The pharmacokinetics of 20 mg hydrocortisone were studied after IV and oral administration. Endogenous hydrocortisone was suppressed by dexamethasone administration. Hydrocortisone concentrations were measured in plasma and saliva. After IV administration, hydrocortisone was eliminated with a total body clearance of 18 L/hr and a half-life of 1.7 hr. The volume of distribution was 34 L. Oral bioavailability averaged 96%. Absorption was rapid, achieving maximum hydrocortisone levels of 300 ng/mL after 1 hour. Saliva levels were not proportional to plasma levels, but could be shown to reflect free, non-protein bound hydrocortisone concentrations in plasma.