Triamcinolone topical is a corticosteroid, which is an anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive medication. This means the medication fights inflammation in the body as well as reducing the response of your immune system. And since skin rashes are, by nature, inflammatory, corticosteroids help reduce the associated symptoms, such as redness, swelling, itching, and dryness.
Triamcinolone topical is also a topical steroid. Topical steroids, like all corticosteroids or steroid medications, are powerful, fast-acting anti-inflammatory medications. They’re created to mimic cortisol, an anti-inflammatory hormone in your body made by the adrenal gland.
Some of the brand names for triamcinolone topical include:
Triamcinolone topical can be used to treat:
Did You Know?: Approximately 1 in 10 people in the U.S. will develop eczema at some point during their lifetime. The most common time people develop eczema is early in their childhood.
When used to treat skin conditions, triamcinolone may be used as a lotion, cream, ointment, or aerosol spray. Your healthcare provider will tell you how often to apply triamcinolone, but an average amount is usually 2-4 times per day. Wash your hands before applying triamcinolone (even if it’s an aerosol) and apply a thin film of the medication to the affected area. Rub the medication in gently, and leave your skin uncovered unless your healthcare provider directed you otherwise. Wash your hands after applying the medication as well.
Fast Facts: Triamcinolone is sometimes given as a dental paste for mouth sores. The brand name for this medication is Oralone dental paste. However, if your doctor hasn’t given you a prescription for triamcinolone for oral use, don’t use triamcinolone topical (the kind that goes on your skin) inside your mouth.
Make sure to follow your provider’s instructions about how much and how often to apply triamcinolone. If you miss a dose of the medication, apply it as soon as you remember, unless it’s almost time for your next dose. If that’s the case, you can skip the missed dose and go back to your regular schedule.
Triamcinolone is only available through a prescription from your provider. You can’t find this medication over-the-counter. If you have a skin rash or another skin condition you think could benefit from a topical steroid like triamcinolone, talk to your healthcare provider about your options. Together, the two of you can figure out if triamcinolone will meet your needs, or if there’s a more suitable treatment option available.
The most common side effects of topical triamcinolone include burning, itching, or dryness when you first apply the medication to your skin. This might last a few days, but it should gradually subside as your body gets used to the topical steroid.
If you experience these serious side effects, call your doctor immediately:
Your blood sugar may rise as a result of using corticosteroids; this is normal, and your blood sugar should return to normal levels after you stop taking the medication. If you already have diabetes, your healthcare provider may recommend a different treatment instead of steroids.
It’s rare, but there are some cases where topical triamcinolone can cause serious side effects of too much adrenal hormone. This includes the following symptoms:
Let your healthcare provider know about any other medications you take, whether they’re prescription or over-the-counter. Triamcinolone and other corticosteroids can interact with multiple medications, and your healthcare provider will need to know about any potentially harmful interactions.
A word from our pharmacist:
“Corticosteroids are fantastic medications, but they should not be taken for extended periods if at all possible. Be sure to taper off of the medication if you’re taking it for a long period of time.” — Eric Frazier, PharmD
If you have a skin rash that hasn’t responded to other treatments, ask your healthcare provider about triamcinolone. It’s a fast-acting and effective anti-inflammatory that can help reduce your symptoms. Just make sure to follow their advice, and if you have any further questions about the medication, discuss them with your provider or your pharmacist.