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

Sierra Leone faces criticism over Ebola shutdown

12 hours ago

Sierra Leone began the second day of a 72-hour nationwide shutdown aimed at containing the spread of the deadly Ebola virus on Saturday amid criticism that the action was a poorly planned publicity stunt.

Presence of peers ups health workers' hand hygiene

Sep 19, 2014

(HealthDay)—The presence of other health care workers improves hand hygiene adherence, according to a study published in the October issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

Sierra Leone streets deserted as shutdown begins

Sep 19, 2014

Sierra Leone's normally chaotic capital resembled a ghost town on Friday as residents were confined to their homes for the start of a three-day lockdown aimed at halting the deadly Ebola epidemic.

Sierra Leone launches controversial Ebola shutdown

Sep 19, 2014

Sierra Leone on Friday launched a controversial three-day shutdown to contain the deadly spread of the Ebola virus, as the UN Security Council declared the deadly outbreak a threat to world peace.

User comments