Triamcinolone Ointment | Side Effects, Dosage, Uses & More
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Generic Name:

triamcinolone, Topical ointment

All Brands

  • Cinolar (Discontinued)
  • Kenalog (Discontinued)
  • Trianex
A discontinued drug is a drug that has been taken off the market due to safety issues, shortage of raw materials, or low market demand.
SECTION 1 of 5

Highlights for triamcinolone

Topical ointment
1

Triamcinolone is available as a prescription lotion, cream, ointment, spray, or injection. It’s also available over-the-counter as a nasal spray.

2

Topical triamcinolone is used to relieve itchy and inflamed skin caused by skin disorders such as allergies, eczema, or dermatitis.

3

Triamcinolone ointment is available as the brand-name drug Trianex. It’s also available as a generic drug.

4

The more common side effects of this drug include skin effects such as burning, itching, irritation, dryness, acne, skin discoloration, or rash. They also include unusual hair growth.

5

In some cases, triamcinolone ointment can cause more serious side effects. These can include skin infections or skin breakdown.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Cushing’s syndrome

Triamcinolone can cause Cushing’s syndrome. Symptoms can include weight gain on the trunk of your body, a round face, or purple marks on your skin. These symptoms are more common in people using large doses of this drug over a large area of the body.

Adrenal insufficiency

Triamcinolone can cause adrenal insufficiency. With this condition, the adrenal glands don’t make enough steroid hormones. Stopping this medication should reverse the effects of this condition.

Slow healing

If you have a skin infection when you start treatment with triamcinolone, your doctor may also prescribe a topical antibiotic or antifungal to treat the infection. If the infection doesn’t heal properly, you may need to stop treatment with triamcinolone until the infection heals.

Allergic reaction

If the treated skin has irritation that doesn’t improve after several days of treatment, call your doctor. This may be a sign of an allergic reaction. Your doctor may do a test to check for allergy.

Drug features

Triamcinolone ointment is a prescription drug. It’s available as the brand-name drug Trianex. It’s also available as a generic drug. Generic drugs usually cost less. In some cases, they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand-name version. 

Triamcinolone ointment may be used as part of a combination therapy. This means you may need to take it with other medications to treat your condition.

Why it's used

Topical triamcinolone is used to relieve itchy and inflamed skin caused by skin disorders such as allergies, eczema, or dermatitis.

How it works

Triamcinolone belongs to a class of drugs called corticosteroids. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way.

More Details

How it works

Triamcinolone belongs to a class of drugs called corticosteroids. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

Topical triamcinolone reduces the activity of your immune system. The drug blocks the release of substances in your body that cause inflammation. This helps reduce swelling, itching, and pain.

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SECTION 2 of 5

triamcinolone Side Effects

Topical ointment

more Common Side Effects

The more common side effects that can occur with use of this drug include:

  • skin burning, itching, or other irritation

  • skin dryness

  • acne

  • rash

  • increased hair growth or hair growth in places where it doesn’t usually occur

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious Side Effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 9-1-1 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Skin breakdown. Symptoms can include:

    • skin ulcers (sores)
    • softening and thinning of your skin
  • Skin infections. Symptoms can include:

    • redness
    • swelling
    • oozing pus
  • Other skin effects. Symptoms can include:

    • loss of skin color
    • rash around your mouth
    • stretch marks
    • heat rash
  • Inflammation of your hair follicles. Symptoms can include:

    • red, itchy, or painful skin at the base of the hair
  • Adrenal insufficiency. Symptoms can include:

    • tiredness
    • weakness
    • dizziness
    • nausea
    • vomiting
  • Cushing’s syndrome. Symptoms can include:

    • weight gain on the trunk of your body
    • a round face
    • purple marks on your skin
  • Worsening of the condition you’re treating

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
SECTION 3 of 5

triamcinolone May Interact with Other Medications

Topical ointment

An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well. To help prevent interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. 

To find out how triamcinolone might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.

People with Cushing’s syndrome

This condition causes high levels of corticosteroid hormones to build up in your body. Triamcinolone is a corticosteroid hormone. It can further increase these levels and make your symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome worse.

People with diabetes

Triamcinolone can increase your blood sugar levels. Your doctor may recommend that you monitor your blood sugar more closely while you’re using this medication.

People with a skin infection

If you have a skin infection when you start treatment with topical triamcinolone, your doctor may also prescribe a topical antibiotic or antifungal to treat it. If the infection doesn’t heal, you may need to stop your treatment with topical triamcinolone.

Pregnant women

Topical triamcinolone is a category C pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Research in animals has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. There haven’t been enough studies done in humans to be certain how the drug might affect the fetus.

Tell your doctor if you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Triamcinolone should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

Women who are breast-feeding

Topical triamcinolone may pass into breast milk. This could lead to delayed growth in your child. It could also cause problems with your child’s normal hormone and corticosteroid production.

Talk to your doctor if you breastfeed your child. You may need to stop breastfeeding or stop taking this medication.

For children

  • Triamcinolone can delay growth and development in children younger than 18 years. Your child’s doctor will monitor their weight and height during treatment.
  • Children may be more likely to absorb high levels of this drug. This can lead to serious side effects from high corticosteroid levels. 
  • Your child’s doctor will recommend the lowest effective dose of this drug for the shortest amount of time for your child.
  • Don’t use tight-fitting diapers or plastic pants if you’re treating your child’s diaper area. Doing so can increase the amount of drug your child absorbs and cause increased side effects.  

When to call the doctor

Call your doctor right away if you become pregnant while using this drug.

Allergies

This drug can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:

  • skin rash
  • itching or hives
  • swelling of your face, lips, or tongue

If you have an allergic reaction, call your doctor or local poison control center right away. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Don’t use this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it or to other glucocorticoids. Using it could be fatal (cause death).

SECTION 4 of 5

How to Take triamcinolone (Dosage)

Topical ointment

All possible dosages and drug forms may not be included here. Your dosage, drug form, and how often you take the drug will depend on: 

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What are you taking this medication for?

Skin allergies or other skin conditions

Generic: triamcinolone

Form: Topical ointment
Strengths: 0.1%

Brand: Trianex

Form: Topical ointment
Strengths: 0.5%
Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)

Typical dosage: Gently rub a small amount of ointment onto the affected area two to four times per day.

Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

There are no specific dosage recommendations for children. Your child’s doctor will prescribe the lowest effective dosage to reduce your child’s risk of side effects.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Topical triamcinolone comes with risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If you stop using the drug or don’t use it at all

Your itchy and inflamed skin may not get better and may get worse.

If you miss doses or don’t take the drug on schedule

Your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely. For this drug to work well, you need to use it as prescribed.

If you use too much

You could have dangerous levels of the drug in your body. Symptoms of an overdose of this drug can include increased side effects, such as:

  • tiredness
  • weakness
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • weight gain on the trunk of your body
  • a round face
  • purple marks on your skin

If you think you’ve used too much of this drug, call your doctor or local poison control center. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

What to do if you miss a dose

Apply your dose as soon as you remember. If you remember just a few hours before your next scheduled dose, apply only one dose. Never try to catch up by applying two doses at once. This could result in dangerous side effects.

How to tell if the drug is working

You should see an improvement in your condition. Your inflamed and itchy skin should get better.

Topical triamcinolone is used for short-term or long-term treatment.

The length of your treatment depends on the condition you’re treating and your body’s response to the treatment.

Store this drug carefully

  • Store triamcinolone ointment at room temperature between 59°F and 86°F (15°C and 30°C).

A prescription for this medication is refillable

You should not need a new prescription for this medication to be refilled. Your doctor will write the number of refills authorized on your prescription.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you. When flying, never put it into a checked bag. Keep it in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport x-ray machines. They can’t hurt your medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled box with you.
  • Don’t put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.

Self-management

This drug is for external use only. Do not use in your eyes.

Clinical monitoring

Your doctor may do blood tests if they think you have absorbed high levels of this drug. These tests include: 

  • ACTH stimulation test
  • plasma cortisol test
  • urinary free cortisol test

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be better suited for you than others. Talk to your doctor about other drug options that may work for you.

SECTION 5 of 5

How Much Does triamcinolone Cost?

Topical ointment

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These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for triamcinolone on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

Show Sources

  • Actavis MidAtlantic, LLC. (2008, August). Triamcinolone acetonide cream – triamcinolone acetonide ointment [package insert]. Lincolntown, NC.
  • Aventis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (2007, September). Nasacort – triamcinolone acetonide aerosol, metered [package insert]. Bridgewater, NJ.
  • Crown Laboratories. (2015, May). Triderm – triamcinolone acetonide cream [package insert]. Johnson City, TN.
  • G&W Laboratories, Inc. (2014, September). Triamcinolone acetonide lotion [package insert]. South Plainfield, NJ.
  • Perrigo New York Inc. (2015, April). Triamcinolone acetonide aerosol, spray [package insert]. Allegan, MI.
  • Ranbaxy Laboratories, Inc. (2013, July). Kenalog – triamcinolone acetonide aerosol, spray [package insert]. Jacksonville, FL.
  • Teva Pharmaceuticals. (2015, June). Triamcinolone acetonide spray, metered [package insert]. Sellersville, PA.
  • Triamcinolone acetonide- triamcinolone acetonide injection, suspension. (2011, October 17). Retrieved from http://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=1186a600-682d-407d-9579-9aba8f9f0a88
  • Upsher-Smith Laboratories, Inc. (2010, September). Trianex – triamcinolone acetonide ointment [package insert]. Minneapolis, MN. 

Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on February 11, 2016

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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