Steroid injection linked to increased risk of bone fractures

October 25, 2012

Patients treated with an epidural steroid injection for back pain relief are at increased risk of bone fractures in the spine, according to a Henry Ford Hospital study.

Researchers say the risk of fracture increased 29 percent with each steroid injection, a finding they believe raises concerns.

"For a patient population already at risk for , steroid injections carry a greater risk that previously thought and actually pose a hazard to the bone," says Shlomo Mandel, M.D., a Henry Ford orthopedic physician and the study's lead author.

Dr. Mandel recommends that patients being treated with steroid injections be told about the risks associated with future fractures and undergo bone testing.

The study was accepted as a Best Paper to be presented Thursday, Oct. 25 at the annual meeting of the North American Spine Society in Dallas.

Bone fractures in the spine are the most common fracture in patients with osteoporosis, affecting an estimated 750,000 people annually. Roughly 40 percent of women aged 80 and older experience bone fractures in the spine.

Patients are typically treated with anti-inflammatory drugs and physical therapy. If symptoms persist, an epidural steroid is often prescribed to alleviate pain and improve function. However, steroid use has been linked to diminished bone quality.

In a , researchers compared data of 6,000 patients treated for back pain between 2007 and 2010 – 3,000 patients who received at least one steroid injection and 3,000 patients who did not receive injection. The average age of patients was 66 years, and 3,840 were women and 2,160 were men. Researchers also analyzed the incidence of bone in each group. Using the survival analysis technique, researchers found that the number of is linked with an increased likelihood of fracture.

Related Stories

Bone metabolism, vitamin D key in postkyphoplasty breaks

April 25, 2012

(HealthDay) -- For postmenopausal women with osteoporosis, bone metabolism and 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) levels are associated with postkyphoplasty recurrent vertebral compression fractures, according to a study published ...

Recommended for you

Experimental MERS vaccine shows promise in animal studies

July 28, 2015

A two-step regimen of experimental vaccines against Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) prompted immune responses in mice and rhesus macaques, report National Institutes of Health scientists who designed the vaccines. ...

Can social isolation fuel epidemics?

July 21, 2015

Conventional wisdom has it that the more people stay within their own social groups and avoid others, the less likely it is small disease outbreaks turn into full-blown epidemics. But the conventional wisdom is wrong, according ...

Lack of knowledge on animal disease leaves humans at risk

July 20, 2015

Researchers from the University of Sydney have painted the most detailed picture to date of major infectious diseases shared between wildlife and livestock, and found a huge gap in knowledge about diseases which could spread ...

IBD genetically similar in Europeans and non-Europeans

July 20, 2015

The first genetic study of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) to include individuals from diverse populations has shown that the regions of the genome underlying the disease are consistent around the world. This study, conducted ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.