Chronic pain originating from inflamed nerve in spine can be effectively treated with epidural steriods. A herniated disc in cervical or lumbar spine will invariably inflame a single or multiple nerves in spine and will cause arm or leg pain, also described as radicular pain. Patients will report a shooting , stabbing pain radiating in arm and leg. Epidural steriods are extremely effective in reducing inflammation and therefore reducing pain. As the medication is delivered to the origin of inflamation directly rather than oral or intramuscular route. These procedures when performed by skilled interventional pain physician under fluoroscopic guidance will give excellent results. In rare instances in absence of radicular pain, epidural steriods may not be as effective. The success and safety of this procedure is heavily dependent on skill and training of performing physican.
There are different kind of steriods. The goal is to inject a steriod which will decrease inflammation for long term. Will not damge any tissue where it is injected. Will not result in long term systemic effects, like long term elevevation of blood sugar. Transient and temporary effects like flushing, mild elevation in blood sugar in patients with diabetes are self resolving side effects. Ohio pain center does not use depomedrol.
It is common for a facilty treating chronic pain to procure steriods from a pharmacy which is considered reliable. So there is an element of trust. We beleive the pharmacy will take all precautions to follow sterile precautions at all levels, obviously for safety of patients. Unfortunately a pharmacy in massachussets broke that trust and endangered health of multiple patients. My sincere condolences and empathy for all the patients and there families who have undergone such an ordeal.