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Tags: steroid | back | pain | inject

Steroid Injections Tied to Bone Fractures

Thursday, 25 October 2012 11:36 AM EDT

Epidural steroid injections used to treat patients with back pain increase the risk of bone fractures in the spine, according to new research.
The study, by Henry Ford Hospital researchers, found the risk of fracture increases as much as 29 percent with each steroid injection — a finding they said raises patient safety concerns.
“For a patient population already at risk for bone fractures, steroid injections carry a greater risk than previously thought and actually pose a hazard to the bone,” said Dr. Shlomo Mandel, a Henry Ford orthopedic physician who led the study, presented Thursday at the annual meeting of the North American Spine Society in Dallas.
Mandel recommended that patients receiving injections be told about the risks and undergo bone testing.
Fractures in the spine are the most common in patients with osteoporosis, affecting an estimated 750,000 people annually, most of them women.
Patients are typically treated with pain medicine and physical therapy, but in serious or persistent cases an epidural steroid is often prescribed.
For the new study, researchers compared medical charts of 6,000 patients treated for back pain between 2007 and 2010 — half of whom received at least one steroid injection, half of whom did not.
Researchers found patients who had steroid injections were far more likely to experience a fracture.
The study comes as federal officials are tracking an outbreak of fungal meningitis linked to steroid shots for back pain made by a specialty pharmacy in Massachusetts.
The medication at the center of the outbreak, which has been recalled, was not used by the Henry Ford researchers.
The latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate the outbreak has caused 317 illnesses, including five joint infections, and 24 deaths in 17 states: Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

© HealthDay

Epidural steroid injections used to treat back pain increase the risk of bone fractures in the spine.
Thursday, 25 October 2012 11:36 AM
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