The United States Federal Food and Drug Administration recently issued a warning regarding epidural corticosteroid injections and the risk of serious adverse medical events. Corticosteroids are a class of synthetic drugs that are used to reduce inflammation and are often used in pain-management situations. The procedure at issue involves injecting these drugs into the epidural space, the area around the spinal cord. While the FDA has never approved the use of corticosteroids for use in the epidural space, epidural corticosteroid injections have become a commonplace “off-label” practice in treating spinal nerve irritation that causes neck and back pain, as well as pain that radiates into a person’s limbs.
What Conditions do Epidural Corticosteroid Injections Treat?
Some of the more common medical issues that can cause nerve irritation include a herniated or bulging disc, bone spurs, joint cysts, or a slipped disc. The procedure is performed by placing a needle into the epidural space and injecting the corticosteroid into the affected area. Generally, the needle is guided using fluoroscopic guidance, and a contrast dye injected prior to the steroid in order to ensure that the needle is positioned correctly.
Epidural Corticosteroid Injection Side Effects
According to the FDA, epidural corticosteroids may result in serious side effects, including loss of vision, stroke, paralysis, and even death. Due to the potential severity of these side-effects, the agency has required that a warning label be added to injectable corticosteroids. In addition, the FDA recommends that patients discuss these risks and the risks associated with alternative treatments with their healthcare providers. Some of the corticosteroids used in epidural injections include hydrocortisone, triamcinolone, betamethasone, and dexamethasone.
People who are injured by epidural corticosteroid injections may suffer significant economic and non-economic losses. Fortunately, these losses may be compensable by filing a lawsuit against the drug manufacturer. As with any drug on the market, manufacturers are responsible for providing consumers with a safe product, as well as adequately warning consumers about the drug’s risks.
Contact an Epidural Corticosteroid Injection Attorney Today
Lopez McHugh is currently evaluating cases involving injury caused by epidural corticosteroid injections. If you believe that you may have a claim, call our office today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.