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Doctors' Answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" - Triamcinolone

These comments are made for the purpose of discussion and should NOT be used as recommendations for or against therapies or other treatments. An individual patient is always advised to consult their own physician.

[posted 08/25/2000]
Question: my doctor prescribed triamcinolone acetonide ointment for my psoriasis a couple of years ago.I was very young at the time.A couple of days ago I looked up info. on this medication and found that there are many different kinds of usages for this medication.Since my ointment is taken externally will it increase my aging process. I have found that Triamcinolone Acetonide is also used in a different form such as a oral inhaler and is also used as a steriod.
I am in desperate need of an answer. I am puzzled of the fact that I was unaware of the side affects that may occur in the long run. Can you please clarfiy the possible side affects of this medication??????? And are there any alternatives that is avaiable out there that can help me with my disease. I would appreciate a response. I really don't know who else to turn to.

Thank You

Answer: Steroids do have the effects you mention systemically. But, it is dosage related. That is, the higher the dosage systemically(blood level for example) the more the problem. Since dermal application gets such low blood levels,(by not being absorbed systemically easily) the systemic effects are minimal. However, large area applications done repeatedly will have some effect. This is much, much lower than the dosage achieved by oral pills or even pulmonary inhalers. Most patients would not be expected to have systemic steroid effects from small dermal applications. So whether you will have side effects would depend on the area you are applying the steroid. If less than 8-10 square inches I wouldn't expect any systemic effects.

Triamcinolone [posted 8/6/98]
Question: My ENT doctor prescribed triamcinolone as an anti-inflammatory to treat swollen salivary glands. When he told me this was a steroid I was concerned. He said it was a very low dose. The Pharmacist told me the same thing the doctor did. When I read the possible side effects I became very leery about taking this medication. Do you have any other information about this drug?

Answer: Steroids are strong anti-inflammatories. There really is no equal, although non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (Motrin, Naprosyn, the like) can offer some decrease in inflammation. However, there is a price to pay. Long term, these drugs accelerate the aging process - this is basically what you read on the side effects. This is dose and duration dependent so that the higher the dose and the longer you take it are the biggest factors in developing side effects. Short bursts in isolated situations probably have minimal effect. Longer bursts for repeated treatments will start to show side effects.

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