Steroid shots versus placebo? It’s a tie!!!
How often do you wonder if those epidural steroids are really doing any good? According to a study appearing in the April 17 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine and reported in today’s New York Times, epidural steroid shots are NO MORE EFFECTIVE for back pain than a placebo.
The lead author, Dr. Steven Cohen, associate professor of anesthesiology at Johns Hopkins, was disappointed in the results. The study was directed at etanercept, an arthritic medication, but results showed no statistically significant differences in patients’ condition one month after having received two injections given two weeks apart. While there may have been some short term analgesic effect, the improvement in all patients was attributable to normal healing.
The study’s conclusion? “…the strongest evidence for back pain relief is with exercise.”
Every day OMCA professionals apply evidence-based medicine in managing patient care and evaluating medical necessity. Studies such as this are important in refining criteria to improve patient outcomes and responsibly manage health care costs.
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