Injections for Hay Fever
Triamcinolone (Kenalog) is a steroid drug that can be given to sufferers of severe hay fever. It is very effective, lasts about 6-8 weeks and has a low risk of potentially serious side effects.
The side effects are rare but potentially serious. People who take steroids on a long term basis, ie for more than 2-3 weeks, are at risk of serious steroid side effects, which include weight gain, fluid retention, low potassium levels, psychiatric disturbance, high blood pressure, diabetes, destruction of bone at the top of the hip and osteoporosis. Immune deficiency can also occur, increasing the risk of infection.
There is no clear evidence yet that repeated doses of Triamcinolone is risk-free and for that reason, I will only give it in cases where, despite maximum daily treatment with high dose antihistamines and nasal steroids, symptoms are incapacitating and persistent. I do not give more than one injection per patient per year. I do not give this drug to patients under 16.
If treatment is required for intolerable symptoms for an important occasion, such as summer exams, then I could possibly prescribe a short course of oral steroids to get the person over that difficult period.