Generic Aristocort (Triamcinolone) for Skin Diseases

  • Prescribed for: Corticosteroids are prescribed for a wide variety of disorders, from skin rash to cancer. They may be used to treat adrenal gland disease because one of the hormones produced by the adrenal gland is very similar to these synthetic corticosteroid drugs. If patients are not producing; enough adrenal hormones, corticosteroids may be used as replacement therapy. They may also be prescribed to treat the following: bursitis; arthritis; severe skin reactions (such as psoriasis or other rashes); severe or disabling allergies; asthma; drug or serum sickness; severe respiratory diseases (including pneumonitis); blood disorders; gastrointestinal diseases (including ulcerative colitis); and inflammation of the nerves, heart, or other organs.
    Dexamethasone is also used to treat “mountain sickness,” vomiting, bronchial disease in premature babies, the diagnosis of depression (controversial), and excessive hairiness, and to reduce hearing loss associated with bacterial meningitis.
  • General Information: The major differences among the corticosteroids are potency of medication and variation in some secondary effects. Choosing one corticosteroid for a specific disease is usually a matter of doctor preference and past experience. Taking 5 mg of Prednisone as the basic drug for comparison purposes, equivalent doses of other corticosteroids are: Betamethasone (0.6 mg to 0.75 mg), Cortisone (25 mg), Dexamethasone (0.75 mg), Hydrocortisone (20 mg), Methylprednisolone (4 mg), Prednisolone (5 mg), and Triamcinolone (4 mg).

Cautions and Warnings

If you are allergic to one corticosteroid, chances are you are allergic to all; you should avoid using corticosteroids.

Corticosteroids can mask the symptoms of a current infection, and new infections may appear during their use because your immune system is compromised by these drugs. Should this happen, a relatively minor infection that would respond to ordinary treatments can turn into a major problem. Corticosteroids may impair the immune response to hepatitis B, prolonging recovery. They can reactivate dormant amebiasis, an infection usually acquired in the tropics. Corticosteroids should not be taken if you have a fungus blood infection, because they could actually make it easier for the infection to spread. They should be used with caution by people with tuberculosis.

Long-term use of any corticosteroid drug can increase your chances of developing cataracts, glaucoma, or eye infections (viral of fungal, especially).

Because of the effect of corticosteroids on your adrenal glands, it is essential that when it is time for you to stop taking the drug, the dose be gradually reduced by your doctor over a period of time. If you stop taking this medication suddenly or without the advice of your doctor, you could experience adrenal gland failure, which can have extremely serious consequences.

If you are taking large corticosteroid doses, you should not be vaccinated with any live virus vaccines, because corticosteroids will interfere with the body’s normal reaction to the vaccine. Discuss this with your doctor before you receive any vaccine.

Hydrocortisone and Cortisone can lead to high blood pressure. because of their effect on blood sodium and other electrolytes. This is less of a problem with other corticosteroids.

Corticosteroids should be used with caution if you have severe kidney disease.

High-dose or long-term corticosteroid therapy may aggravate or worsen stomach ulcers. For Prednisone, this may not happen until the total dose reaches 1000 mg. For other corticosteroids, the dose required to have this effect depends on the drug: Betamethasone and Dexamethasone (150 mg), Cortisone (5000 mg), Hydrocortisone (4000 mg), Prednisolone (1000 mg), Triamcinolone and Methylprednisolone (800 mg).

People who have recently stopped taking a corticosteroid and who are going through stressful situations may need small doses of a rapid-acting corticosteroid (Hydrocortisone) to get them through the period of stress. Call your doctor if you think this is happening to you.

Use corticosteroids with care if you have had a recent heart attack, or if you have ulcerative colitis, heart failure, high blood pressure, blood-clotting tendencies, thrombophlebitis, osteoporosis, antibiotic-resistant infections, Cushing’s disease, myasthenia gravis, metastatic cancer, diabetes, underactive thyroid disease, cirrhosis of the liver, or seizure disorders.

Corticosteroid psychosis (euphoria or feeling “high,” delirium, sleeplessness, mood swings, personality changes, and severe depression) may develop in people taking large doses of Prednisone or Prednisolone (more than 40 mg a day). These symptoms can develop with other corticosteroids taken in equivalent doses (see General Information for drug equivalencies). Symptoms usually develop within 15 to 30 days of taking the drug; these symptoms may also be linked to other factors, including a family history of psychosis and female gender.

Corticosteroids may be used for speeding the recovery from attacks of multiple sclerosis, but they don’t fight the underlying disease or slow its progression.

Corticosteroid products often contain tartrazine dyes (to add color) and sulfites (preservatives), two chemicals to which many people are allergic (wheezing, rashes, etc). Check with your pharmacist to determine if the product you are using contains tartrazine dyes or sulfites.

Generic Aristocort Possible Side Effects

  • Most common: stomach upset, which may, in some cases, lead to stomach or duodenal ulcers.
  • Common: water retention, heart failure, potassium loss, muscle weakness, loss of muscle mass, slow wound healing, black-and-blue marks on the skin, increased sweating, allergic skin rash, itching, convulsions, dizziness, and headache. Corticosteroids may also cause a loss of calcium, which may result in bone fractures and a condition known as aseptic necrosis of the femoral and humoral heads (the ends of the large bones in the hip degenerate from loss of calcium).
  • Less common: irregular menstrual cycles, slow growth in children (particularly after the medication has been taken for long periods of time), adrenal and/or pituitary gland suppression, developing diabetes, drug sensitivity or allergic reactions, bipod clots, insomnia, weight gain, increased appetite, nausea, and feelings of ill health. Psychological derangements may appear, which range from euphoria (feeling “high”) to mood swings, personality changes, and severe depression. Prednisone may also aggravate existing emotional instability.

Drug Interactions

Tell your doctor if you are taking any oral anticoagulant (blood-thinning) drugs if a corticosteroid is being considered; the anticoagulant dose may have to be changed.

Interaction with diuretics (such as Hydrochlorothiazide) may cause the loss of blood potassium. Signs of low blood- potassium levels include weakness, muscle cramps, and tiredness; report any of these symptoms to your physician. Eat high-potassium foods such as bananas, citrus fruits, melons, and tomatoes. Digitalis drug side effects may be increased because of low blood potassium.

Oral contraceptives, Estrogens, Erythromycin, Azithromycin, Clarithromycin, and Ketoconazole may increase this effects of corticosteroid drugs, increasing the chance of corticosteroid side effects.

Barbiturates, Aminoglutethimide, Phenytoin and other hydantoin anticonvulsants, Rifampin, Ephedrine, Colestipol, and Cholestyramine may reduce corticosteroid effectiveness.

Corticosteroids may decrease the effects of Aspirin (and other salicylate drugs), growth hormones, and Isoniazid.

Corticosteroids and Theophylline drugs may interact to alter the requirements of either or both drugs. Your doctor will have to determine the proper dosage levels of each.

Corticosteroids can interfere with laboratory tests. Tell your doctor if you are taking any of these drugs so that the tests can be properly analyzed.

Generic Aristocort Food Interactions

Take these medications with food or a small amount of antacid to avoid stomach upset. If stomach upset continues, notify your doctor.

Usual Dose

Betamethasone

  • Initial dose: 0.6 to 7.2 mg a day. Maintenance dose: 0.6 to 7.2 mg a day, depending on response.

Cortisone

  • Initial dose: 25 to 300 mg a day. Maintenance dose: 25 to 300 mg a day, depending on response.

Dexamethasone

  • Initial dose: 0.75 to 9 (or more) mg a day. Maintenance dose: 0.75 to 9 mg a day, depending on response and disease being treated. The lowest effective dose is desirable. Stressful situations may cause a need for a temporary increase in your Dexamethasone dose. Dexamethasone may also be given in “alternate-day” therapy (twice the usual daily dose is given every other day).

Hydrocortisone

  • Initial dose: 20 to 240 mg a day. Maintenance dose: 20 to 240 mg a day, depending on individual response.

Methylprednisolone

  • Initial dose: 4 to 48 (or more) mg a day. Maintenance dosage: varies according to your response and the disease being treated. The lowest effective dose is desirable. Stressful situations may cause a need for a temporary increase in your Methylprednisolone dose. It may be given in “alternate-day” therapy (twice the usual daily dose is given every other day).

Prednisone and Prednisolone

  • Initial dose: 5 to 60 (or more) mg a day. Maintenance dose: 5 to 60 mg a day, depending on your response and the disease being treated. The lowest effective dose is desirable. Stressful situations may cause a need for a temporary increase in your Prednisone or Prednisolone dose. Prednisone and Prednisolone may be given in “alternate-day” therapy (twice the usual daily dose is given every Other day).

Generic Aristocort Overdosage

Symptoms of corticosteroid overdosage are anxiety, depression and/or stimulation, stomach bleeding, increased blood sugar, high blood pressure, and water retention. The victim should be taken to a hospital emergency room immediately, where stomach pumping, oxygen, intravenous fluids, and other supportive treatments are available. ALWAYS bring the medicine bottle with you.

Special Information

Do not stop taking this medicine on your own. Suddenly stopping any corticosteroid drug can have severe consequences; the dosage must be gradually reduced by your doctor.

Call your doctor if you develop unusual weight gain, black or tarry stools, swelling of the feet or legs, muscle weakness, vomiting of blood, menstrual irregularity, prolonged sore throat, fever, cold or infection; appetite loss, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, weakness, dizziness, or low blood sugar.

If you miss a corticosteroid dose and you take several doses a day, take the missed dose as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and double the next dose.

If you take one dose a day and you do not remember the
missed dose until the next day, skip the missed dose and take your usual dose. Do not take a double dose.

If you take a corticosteroid every other day, take the missed dose if you remember it that morning. If it is much later in the day, skip the missed dose and take it the following morning, then go back to your usual dose schedule. Do not take a double dose.

Generic Aristocort Special Populations

Pregnancy/Breast-feeding

Studies have shown that taking large doses of corticosteroids over long periods can cause birth defects. Chronic use during the first 3 months of pregnancy can lead to birth defects. Pregnant women should not take a corticosteroid unless the risks have been considered.

Corticosteroid drugs taken by mouth may pass into breast milk. As long as the daily dose is relatively low (Prednisone or Prednisolone less than 20 mg; Methylprednisolone less than 8 mg) and the medicine is being taken for a short time, the amount of drug that appears in breast milk is usually negligible. Nursing mothers taking doses in this range should either consider bottle-feeding their babies or wait 3 to 4 hours after each corticosteroid dose to nurse or collect breast milk. Those taking larger corticosteroid doses should bottle-feed their babies.

Seniors

Lower doses may be more desirable in older adults because they are as effective and cause fewer problems. Older adults are more likely to develop high blood pressure while taking an oral corticosteroid. Also, older women are more susceptible to osteoporosis (bone degeneration) associated with large doses of corticosteroids.


Disclaimer: The information you can find in this article is presented purely for educational purposes. Any drugs and their exact dosages should be selected only after consulting a medical professional that is aware of your medical history. The article doesn’t offer in-depth information regarding Aristocort so it shouldn’t be used as a guideline in your treatment. Taking this drug without consulting a specialist can be dangerous and increase the risk of side effects. If you are interested in taking this medication, you may need to undergo a physical examination and perform laboratory tests to assess your current state of health. This site doesn’t bear responsibility for the information presented here and any instances that may arise from following these recommendations.