Kenalog (triamcinolone) is a prescription injection used to treat inflammation-related conditions. This drug can cause side effects that range from mild to serious, including new or worsening mental health issues.

Kenalog is approved for treating many conditions related to inflammation in adults and children ages 1 month and older. This drug is prescribed when treatment with an oral medication (such as a tablet or capsule) isn’t possible. Some of the conditions doctors prescribe Kenalog to treat include:

The active ingredient in Kenalog is triamcinolone. The drug comes as a liquid suspension for injection into a muscle or joint. In some cases, this drug is given as an injection into soft tissues, such as a skin wound.

Keep reading to learn about the common, mild, and serious side effects that Kenalog can cause. For a general overview of the drug, including details about its uses, see this article.

Some people may experience mild to serious side effects during Kenalog treatment. Examples of the drug’s commonly reported side effects include:

  • a mild, short-term increase in blood sugar
  • an increased risk of infection
  • edema (fluid buildup in your body)
  • an increased appetite

Note: After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a drug, it tracks and reviews side effects of the medication. If you’d like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with Kenalog, visit MedWatch.

Mild side effects have been reported with Kenalog. These include:

In most cases, these side effects should be temporary, and some may be easily managed. But if you have symptoms that are ongoing or bothersome, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. Do not stop Kenalog treatment unless your doctor recommends it.

Kenalog may cause mild side effects other than those listed above. See the drug’s prescribing information for details.

While not common, serious side effects have been reported with Kenalog. These include:

If you develop serious side effects during treatment with Kenalog, call your doctor right away. If the side effects seem life threatening or you think you’re having a medical emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number.

* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effects explained” section below.

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If you or someone you know is in crisis and considering suicide or self-harm, please seek support:

If you’re calling on behalf of someone else, stay with them until help arrives. You may remove weapons or substances that can cause harm if you can do so safely.

If you are not in the same household, stay on the phone with them until help arrives.

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For some people, Kenalog can cause an allergic reaction, but this was rare in the drug’s studies. In general, symptoms of allergic reaction can be mild or serious. You can learn more about possible symptoms in this article.

What might help

If you have mild symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as a mild skin rash, call your doctor right away. They may suggest a treatment to manage your symptoms and can determine whether you should continue Kenalog treatment.

If you have symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, such as swelling or difficulty breathing, call 911 or your local emergency number right away. These symptoms could be life threatening and require immediate medical care.

If your doctor confirms you’ve had a serious allergic reaction to Kenalog, they may have you switch to a different treatment.

Get answers to some frequently asked questions about Kenalog’s side effects.

How do side effects of Kenalog-40 compare with those of Kenalog-10 or Kenalog-80?

Kenalog comes as a liquid suspension. It’s typically given as an injection into a muscle or joint by a healthcare professional. Kenalog injections come in three strengths:

  • Kenalog-10: 10 milligrams per milliliter (mg/mL) of suspension
  • Kenalog-40: 40 mg/mL
  • Kenalog-80: 80 mg/mL

As with most medications, the risk of side effects increases with receiving higher doses of Kenalog. Higher doses may also cause more severe side effects than lower doses. If you have questions about the possible side effects of your dose of Kenalog, talk with your doctor.

How long do Kenalog’s side effects last? How long does Kenalog stay in your system?

Mild side effects caused by Kenalog often go away within a few hours to days. But Kenalog is a long-acting drug that can stay in your system for several weeks. And in rare instances, this drug can cause long-term side effects. See the question below to learn more.

Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions or concerns about lasting side effects from Kenalog. They can review your symptoms and suggest possible treatments.

Can Kenalog cause long-term side effects?

Yes, Kenalog can cause long-term side effects. These include side effects that may start at any time you’re taking a drug, even if you’ve taken it for a long time. It also includes side effects that may not go away, even after you stop treatment with the medication.

Examples of long-term side effects reported in Kenalog’s studies include:

  • adrenal insufficiency
  • Cushing syndrome
  • increased infection risk
  • increased blood sugar, which can lead to type 2 diabetes
  • Kaposi sarcoma
  • low blood potassium or calcium
  • severe muscle weakness
  • slowed growth in children
  • new or worsening mental health side effects*
  • weak bones and osteoporosis*
  • eye-related side effects*, including glaucoma and cataracts

Talk with your doctor to learn more about the possible side effects of Kenalog and how long they may last.

* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effects explained” section just below.

Kenalog is used to treat many conditions related to inflammation in adults and children ages 1 month and older. Doctors prescribe Kenalog when treatment with an oral medication, such as a tablet or capsule, isn’t possible.

The following side effects were reported more commonly in children than in adults in the drug’s studies:

  • slowed growth
  • benzyl alcohol toxicity (benzyl alcohol is a preservative in Kenalog)

For more information about the potential side effects of Kenalog in children, talk with your child’s doctor or a pharmacist.

Learn more about some of the side effects Kenalog may cause.

New or worsening mental health side effects

New or worsening mental health side effects were reported in studies of Kenalog. These are not common but can be serious and include new or worsening:

Factors that can increase the risk of these effects with Kenalog include having an existing mental health condition, such as depression or bipolar disorder.

What might help

If you have symptoms of new or worsening mental health issues during Kenalog treatment, talk with your doctor. Depending on the situation, they may refer you to a mental health professional. They may also recommend a different treatment option instead of Kenalog.

Weak bones and osteoporosis

Weak bones and osteoporosis are side effects reported in people treated with corticosteroids, including Kenalog. These effects aren’t common but can be serious.

With osteoporosis, the small spaces inside your bones increase in size. This causes your bones to lose density and strength and increases your risk of bone fracture (break). Osteoporosis typically doesn’t cause symptoms, but it’s possible to develop some, such as:

  • brittle, weak nails
  • receding gums
  • weakened grip strength

Symptoms of a bone fracture include difficulty supporting weight with the affected bone and bruising or swelling in the affected area.

Your risk of these side effects increases with higher Kenalog doses and long-term treatment.

What might help

Before you begin treatment with Kenalog, your doctor may want to test your bone density. The most common screening test for osteoporosis is a DEXA scan, but your doctor will order the most appropriate test for you. They may order bone density tests occasionally throughout your treatment.

When prescribing Kenalog, your doctor may suggest you take certain supplements for bone strength, including calcium and vitamin D.

If you develop symptoms of osteoporosis during treatment, call your doctor right away. They can advise you on the best steps to take. This may involve stopping Kenalog treatment or starting treatment for weak bones. For a broken bone, seek treatment at urgent care or an emergency room.

Eye-related side effects

Treatment with corticosteroids, including Kenalog, can cause eye-related side effects. While rarely reported, these effects can be serious.

Eye-related side effects possible with Kenalog include:

What might help

If you notice symptoms of eye-related side effects during treatment with Kenalog, let your doctor know right away. They may suggest you make an appointment with an eye doctor to check your symptoms. The results of this eye exam can help determine whether your doctor thinks you can safely continue Kenalog treatment.

Keeping track of side effects

During your Kenalog treatment, consider taking notes on any side effects you’re having. You can then share this information with your doctor. This is especially helpful when starting a new drug or combination of treatments.

Your side effect notes can include things such as:

  • what dose of the drug you were receiving when you had the side effect
  • how soon you had the side effect after starting that dose
  • what your symptoms were
  • how your symptoms affected your daily activities
  • what other medications you were taking
  • any other information you feel is important

Sharing notes with your doctor will help them learn more about how Kenalog affects you. They can then use this information to adjust your treatment plan if needed.

Below is important information you should consider before starting Kenalog.


Kenalog can sometimes cause harmful effects in people with certain conditions. This is known as a drug-condition interaction. Other factors may also affect whether this drug is a treatment option for you.

Talk with your doctor about your health history before starting Kenalog. Be sure to tell them if any of the following factors apply to you:

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.