Azmacort is used for preventing asthma attacks, rather than treating attacks as they occur. Because Azmacort is a controller medication, people who use it should also have access to a rescue medication (such as an albuterol inhaler) in case an asthma attack occurs. Azmacort uses in children have been approved for children who are at least six years old. A healthcare provider may prescribe Azmacort off-label to also treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), although it is not approved for this use.
What Is Azmacort Used For?Azmacort® (triamcinolone inhaler) is a prescription medication used to prevent asthma attacks. It is part of a class of asthma medications known as inhaled corticosteroids, or steroids for short.
As of December 2009, the manufacturer of Azmacort decided to stop making the drug in order to comply with regulations concerning chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), chemicals that may deplete the ozone layer. Had Azmacort been a more popular drug, the manufacturer probably would have chosen to reformulate it without CFCs, instead of just discontinuing it. Any unexpired Azmacort inhalers still in pharmacies may be dispensed until December 31, 2010, after which they can no longer be sold in the United States.
Azmacort for Asthma
Asthma is a chronic disease that affects your airways, which are the tubes that carry air into and out of your lungs. When you have asthma, the inside walls of your airways are inflamed (swollen). This inflammation makes the airways very sensitive, and they tend to react strongly to things that you are allergic to or find irritating (see Asthma Triggers). When the airways react, they narrow and reduce the airflow to your lungs. This is called a bronchospasm, and it can cause asthma symptoms like wheezing (a whistling sound when you breathe), coughing, tightness in the chest, and trouble breathing.
While there is no asthma cure, asthma can be controlled. There are many different asthma treatments, including fast-acting "rescue medications" for treating an asthma attack and longer-acting "controller medications" used to prevent asthma attacks. Azmacort is a controller medication, used to help prevent asthma attacks (but not to treat an attack). Everyone who takes Azmacort should also have a rescue medication (such as an albuterol inhaler) available for emergencies.
Azmacort is part of a class of drugs called inhaled corticosteroids, or steroids for short. Inflammation is an important component of asthma, and steroids help to decrease inflammation. Because Azmacort is inhaled directly into the lungs, the rest of the body is exposed to lower steroid levels, compared to steroids taken by mouth. This helps reduce or eliminate many of the side effects associated with long-term steroid use.
(Click Asthma Treatment to learn more about treating asthma.)