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Pronounced: AZ-ma-court
Generic name: Triamcinolone acetonide

Why is this drug prescribed: Azmacort and Nasacort are metered-dose inhalers containing the anti-inflammatory steroid medication, triamcinolone acetonide; Nasacort AQ is a metered-dose pump spray. Azmacort is used as long-term therapy to control bronchial asthma attacks. Nasacort and Nasacort AQ are prescribed to relieve the symptoms of hay fever and other nasal allergies. Nasacort is also used in the treatment of nasal polyps (projecting masses of tissue in the nose).

Most important fact about this drug: Azmacort does not provide rapid relief in an asthma attack. Instead, it reduces the frequency and severity of attacks when taken on a regular basis. For quick relief, you must still use airway-opening medications.

How should you take this medication: Take these drugs on a regular daily basis, exactly as prescribed. With Azmacort and Nasacort, you should begin to see improvement after a week, although it may take 2 weeks or more to achieve the greatest benefit. Nasacort AQ should begin to produce results on the first day, but will take a week to yield maximum benefit. Shake the canister or bottle before each use. The Azmacort inhaler must be primed with 2 activations whenever it has been unused for more than 3 days. Do not use an Azmacort inhaler more than 240 times. Discard the Nasacort canister after 100 inhalations and the Nasacort AQ bottle after 120 actuations. If the drug irritates your throat, gargling and rinsing your mouth with water after each dose can help to relieve the problem. If you are using a bronchodilator inhalant, it should be used before the Azmacort inhalant to derive the best effects from this drug. Use of the two inhalers should be separated by several minutes. Do not spray Nasacort directly onto the bone that separates the nostrils. Avoid spraying either medication in your eyes. Illustrated instructions for use are available with the product. ---If you miss a dose... Use it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and go back to your regular schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once. ---Storage instructions... Store at room temperature. Since the contents of the aerosol inhalant are under pressure, do not puncture the container and do not use or store the medication near heat or open flame. Exposure to temperatures above 120 degrees F. may cause the container to explode.

What side effects may occur: Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking these medications.

Why should this drug not be prescribed: Do not use any of these medications if you are allergic to or sensitive to any of the ingredients. Do not use Azmacort if: Your asthma can be controlled with airway openers and other non-steroid medications. You require only occasional steroid treatment for asthma. (Azmacort is not for treatment of prolonged, severe asthma attacks where fast-acting measures are required.) You have bronchitis not associated with asthma.

Special warnings about this medication: Your doctor will see that your asthma is reasonably under control before starting you on Azmacort. For about a week, he or she will have you take Azmacort along with your usual dose of oral steroid. After that, you will gradually take less and less of the oral drug. If you develop joint or muscular pain, weariness, and depression, contact your doctor immediately. If you feel light-headed or find that you are losing weight, also tell your doctor. If you are using Azmacort and your airway-opening medication is not effective during an asthma attack, contact your doctor immediately. Also get medical help immediately if your wheezing gets worse after a dose of Azmacort. The use of triamcinolone acetonide may cause a yeast-like fungal infection in the mouth and throat (Azmacort) or nose and throat (Nasacort and Nasacort AQ). If you suspect a fungal infection, notify your doctor. Treatment with antifungal medication may be necessary. People using steroid medications such as these are more susceptible to infection. Chickenpox and measles, for example, can be far more serious for children and for adults who have not had them. Try to avoid exposure, but if you are exposed, inform your doctor. Medication may be needed. Switching from steroid tablet therapy to Azmacort Inhaler may allow allergic conditions to surface that were previously controlled by the tablets. These include rhinitis (inflammation of the inside of the nose), conjunctivitis (pinkeye), and eczema. If your child is using any of these medications, your doctor will watch to be sure he or she is growing properly. If you have just had an operation, or if you are experiencing extreme stress, your doctor will watch you closely. Use these medications with extreme caution if you have tuberculosis, an untreated infection, or a herpes infection of the eye. If your symptoms do not improve after 3 weeks, or if they get worse, contact your doctor. If you are using Nasacort or Nasacort AQ, also notify your doctor if you develop nosebleeds or notice nasal irritation, burning, or stinging after using the medication. Use Nasacort or Nasacort AQ with caution if you have not fully healed from nasal ulcers, or an injury to your nose. Steroids can slow wound healing, and there have been rare cases of perforation inside the nose caused by inhaled steroids.

Possible food and drug interactions when taking this medication: Inhaled steroids such as Azmacort, Nasacort, and Nasacort AQ are not recommended for long-term use while you are taking prednisone (Deltasone).

Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding: The effects of triamcinolone acetonide during pregnancy have not been adequately studied. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, inform your doctor immediately. It is not known whether triamcinolone acetonide appears in breast milk. If this medication is essential to your health, your doctor may advise you to discontinue breastfeeding until your treatment with this medication is finished.

Recommended dosage: The Azmacort Inhaler unit is for oral inhalation only. Adults: The usual dose is 2 inhalations (about 200 micrograms), taken 3 or 4 times a day or 4 inhalations taken twice a day. The daily dose should not exceed 16 inhalations. Children 6 to 12 Years of Age: The usual dose is 1 or 2 inhalations (100 to 200 micrograms), taken 3 or 4 times a day or 2 to 4 inhalations taken twice a day. The daily dose should not exceed 12 inhalations. Children Under 6 Years of Age: The safety and effectiveness of this drug have not been established in children under 6 years of age.

Overdosage: Any medication taken in excess can have serious consequences. If you suspect an overdose, seek emergency medical treatment immediately. An overdose is likely to be signaled by an increase in side effects. Accidental contact with the contents of the canister would most likely irritate your nose and give you a headache. Overuse of Nasacort AQ may upset your stomach and intestines. Continual overuse of Azmacort inhalation aerosol could lower your resistance; cause weakness; wasting, or swelling; and interfere with healing.

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