Steroid injection linked to increased risk of bone fractures

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.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

HIV patients at greater risk for bone fractures

Aug 28, 2008

HIV-infected patients have a higher prevalence of fractures than non HIV-infected patients, across both genders and critical fracture sites according to a new study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of ...

Bone metabolism, vitamin D key in postkyphoplasty breaks

Apr 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 ...

Recommended for you

Global Ebola conference seeks end to W.Africa outbreak

3 hours ago

Leaders of Ebola-hit countries in west Africa will attend an international conference in Brussels Tuesday to mobilise a final push to end the outbreak and ensure the delivery of nearly $5 billion in aid pledges.

High prevalence of HCV in baby boomers presenting to ER

12 hours ago

(HealthDay)—The prevalence of unrecognized chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) is high among baby boomers presenting to the emergency department, according to a study published online Jan. 28 in Hepatology.

The hidden burden of dengue fever in West Africa

13 hours ago

Misdiagnosis of febrile illnesses as malaria is a continuing problem in Africa. A new study shows that in Ghana, dengue fever is circulating in urban areas and going undiagnosed. The authors of the study hope to use the findings ...

Teenager with stroke symptoms actually had Lyme disease

13 hours ago

A Swiss teenager, recently returned home from a discotheque, came to the emergency department with classic sudden symptoms of stroke, only to be diagnosed with Lyme disease. The highly unusual case presentation was published ...

Understanding lung disease in aboriginal Australians

14 hours ago

A new study has confirmed that Aboriginal Australians have low forced vital capacity—or the amount of air that can be forcibly exhaled from the lungs after taking the deepest breath possible. The finding may account for ...

User 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.