triamcinolone acetonide inhaler, Azmacort

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

What is triamcinolone acetonide inhaler, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

Triamcinolone is a synthetic (man-made) steroid of the glucocorticoid family used for treating asthma. It is similar to beclomethasone (Vanceril, QVAR) and fluticasone (Flovent). The naturally-occurring glucocorticoid hormone is cortisol or hydrocortisone produced in the adrenal glands. Glucocorticoids have potent anti-inflammatory actions. Some symptoms of asthma are caused by chronic inflammation in the airways within the lungs that obstruct the flow of air into and out of the lungs. Triamcinolone reduces inflammation in the lungs and airways and thereby improves breathing in individuals with asthma. When used as an inhaler, triamcinolone goes directly to the airways of the lungs, and very little is absorbed into the body. The FDA approved the triamcinolone inhaler in April 1982.

Is triamcinolone acetonide inhaler available as a generic drug?

GENERIC AVAILABLE: No

Do I need a prescription for triamcinolone acetonide inhaler?

Yes

What are the side effects of triamcinolone acetonide inhaler?

Common side effects are:

Mild cough or wheezing due to chemical irritation may be minimized by using an inhaled bronchodilator, for example, albuterol (Ventolin), prior to using the triamcinolone. Oral candidiasis or thrush (a fungal infection) may occur in 1 in 20 to 1 in 10 persons who use triamcinolone, the risk being higher with higher doses. The risk of thrush in children is lower than in adults. Hoarseness also may result from the use of triamcinolone inhaler. Using a spacer (a device that is attached to the inhaler) and washing the mouth out with water following each use reduces the risk of thrush and hoarseness.

High doses of inhaled glucocorticoids may decrease the formation of bone and increase the breakdown (resorption) of bone leading to weak bones and fractures. Very high doses may cause suppression of the body's ability to make its own natural glucocorticoid in the adrenal glands. It is possible that patients with suppression of their adrenal glands may need increased amounts of glucocorticoids by the oral or intravenous route during periods of high physical stress such as illnesses when increased amounts of glucocorticoids are needed by the body.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/27/2015

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