Triamcinolone acetonide (TA) is a corticosteroid medication that can help control inflammation. If you have eczema, it can help alleviate symptoms like redness and itching.

A person applying cream to their hand.Share on Pinterest
Getty Images/FreshSplash

While TA can help treat eczema, it can cause side effects, so it may not be suitable for everyone. All medications have possible side effects, and a doctor can help you decide what’s right for you.

This article outlines how TA can help your eczema and tips on how to use it properly. We also discuss the possible risks, side effects, and interactions.

Triamcinolone acetonide (TA) belongs to a class of medications called glucocorticoids. These suppress your body’s inflammatory response, so they can help manage inflammatory skin conditions like eczema.

TA is a derivative of a molecule called triamcinolone, but it has a much greater potency. This means it’s stronger, making it a more effective treatment.

Topical triamcinolone can help treat eczema and other skin conditions, including:

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) provides information on topical TA dosage and administration. However, always follow the doctor’s prescription instructions.

The FDA dosing information is as follows:

  • 0.025% cream: Apply to affected areas two to four times daily.
  • 0.1% cream: Apply to affected areas two to three times daily.
  • 0.5% cream: Apply to affected areas two to three times daily.

For eczema that is difficult to manage, you might want to use occlusive dressings after applying cream.

To do this, gently rub a small amount of cream until it disappears into the skin. Reapply a thin layer of the cream and cover it with a flexible, nonporous dressing, such as plastic wrap. Be sure to seal the edges.

If you want to try occlusive dressings, ask a doctor for advice on when to change the dressings. They may recommend 12-hour occlusion, which involves applying the cream and dressings in the evening and removing them in the morning.

TA can help with eczema, but it isn’t suitable for everyone. It’s essential always to follow the doctor’s instructions because there are risks associated with overuse.

Before using this medication, speak with a doctor if you:

  • have allergies
  • are taking other medications or supplements
  • have an infection in your mouth or throat
  • have ever had diabetes or Cushing syndrome
  • are pregnant, planning on becoming pregnant, or nursing

Children may have a higher risk of developing certain conditions after using topical corticosteroids, so it’s important to be aware of them. Some possible complications include:

  • Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis suppression: This can cause stunted growth and mean a child doesn’t gain weight quickly enough.
  • Cushing syndrome: This may cause delayed growth, weight gain, and high blood pressure.
  • Intracranial hypertension: This can cause headaches and swelling of the optic nerve, which is in the eyes.

Speak with a doctor immediately if a child develops new symptoms while using topical corticosteroids.

TA cream can cause reactions where it’s applied. These reactions are more likely to occur if you use occlusive dressings.

Adverse skin reactions

Topical TA may cause adverse skin reactions, such as:

  • burning
  • itching
  • irritation
  • dryness
  • inflammation of the hair follicles (folliculitis)
  • excessive hair growth (hypertrichosis)
  • acne-type lesions
  • hypopigmentation
  • inflammation or acne-type lesions around the mouth (perioral dermatitis)
  • allergic contact dermatitis
  • softening and breaking down of the skin due to prolonged exposure to moisture (skin maceration)
  • secondary infection
  • thinning skin
  • stretch marks
  • heat rash

Other side effects

Triamcinolone may cause additional side effects. Call a doctor immediately if you experience serious side effects like:

  • severe rash
  • signs of skin infection, such as:
    • skin discoloration
    • swelling
    • skin that is painful, tender, or warm to the touch

According to a 2023 review, long-term use of topical TA or other glucocorticoids can cause Cushing syndrome. This condition can cause:

  • acne
  • thinning skin
  • lack of menstrual periods (amenorrhea)
  • hypertension
  • high blood sugar (hyperglycemia)
  • weight gain
  • osteoporosis
  • immunosuppression
  • steroid-induced depression or mania

There are no reports of serious interactions between topical TA and other medications.

However, oral and injectable forms of TA may interact with other medications you’re taking. Some medications that can interact with these forms of TA include:

The above list is not exhaustive, so always speak with a doctor before starting a new medication.

Topical triamcinolone acetonide (TA) is a corticosteroid medication that can help manage inflammatory skin conditions like eczema. It can help alleviate symptoms such as skin redness and itching.

Before using TA cream, tell your doctor about your health conditions and all other medications and supplements you’re taking.

It’s also important to talk with a doctor if you develop adverse skin reactions or side effects while using the cream.