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Steroid Shots in Spine Linked to Deaths

Yesenia Martinez5 years ago

Despite manufacturer warnings, label changes, and reports of serious and sometimes deadly adverse medical events, doctors and physicians continue to inject popular steroidal drugs into the epidural space near the spine.

Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Kenalog and Depo-Medrol

According to an article in Bloomberg Businessweek, Kenalog and Depo-Medrol are the steroids most commonly used in epidural injections to calm neck and back pain. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., the manufacturer of these, issued a warning to physicians in June 2011 stating that using steroids as epidurals may cause a stroke if the drug is accidentally shot into an artery. Unfortunately, it appears that not all doctors have heeded the warning.

Nearly 200 Adverse Events Reported

  • Epidural steroids have caused serious complications in about 198 patients since 2004.
  • Depo-Medrol and its generic versions have been responsible for complications in 90 of these cases, including the deaths of three people.
  • Kenalog has been responsible for 88 cases.
  • Adverse situations related to both cases include:

    • 52 patients hospitalized
    • 30 suffered from complications
    • 10 listed having life-threatening events

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