Why would doctors continue to prescribe a medication for patients when studies have revealed that not only doesn’t the drug work for the medical problem it is being prescribed for, but the drug may be causing serious and permanent harm to the patients it’s being given to?
That’s the question many patients may be asking after the results of a study done by the University of Washington on the effectiveness of steroid injections for the treatment of spinal stenosis (back and leg pain).
Steroid injections are one of the most common, and profitable, treatments for spinal stenosis. The cost of one single injection can range anywhere from $500 to $2,000. Every year, millions of dollars are paid out by thousands of patients seeking pain relief on these shots.
There were 400 participants who suffer from spinal stenosis used for the study. They were broken up into two groups. One group was given injections of a steroid commonly used for treatment (glucocorticoid) combined with lidocaine, which is an anesthetic. The second group was given injections of just the lidocaine.
After three weeks, the group who was given the steroid and lidocaine injections had better results from the injections than the second group reported. However, after six weeks, those results had changed and researchers found results from the steroid had offered “minimal or no short-term benefit” for pain and other symptoms.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also issued warnings about the dangerous side-effects these steroid treatments may have. Prior to the FDA’s new warning, patients were already warned about the possibility of headaches, sleeplessness and increase risk of infection. But the FDA now says that steroid use could cause blindness, strokes, paralysis, or even death. They also warn that steroid use for back pain has never been approved by the agency.
If you have suffered from an injury or illness as a result of negligent medical treatment, contact an experienced Virginia medical malpractice attorney to find out what compensation you may be entitled to for pain and loss.