Back Pain Shot Used as Alternative to Opioids Carries Severe Risks

back pain

Some doctors looking for alternatives to opioids to treat back pain are using an injectable drug that carries risks of injury and complications, according to The New York Times.

The anti-inflammatory drug, Depo-Medrol, is approved for injection into muscles and joints. Doctors may legally use it in other ways, and some are injecting it close to the spinal cord for back and neck pain. Pfizer, which makes the drug, received hundreds of complaints about injuries and complications related to the shots, including blindness, stroke, paralysis and even death, the article notes. The company asked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban Depo-Medrol shots for back pain five years ago. The FDA did not issue a ban, but strengthened the warning on the label.

The number of Medicare providers giving steroid injections along the spine, including Depo-Medrol, increased 13 percent from 2012 to 2016. Total sales of brand name and generic Depo-Medrol increased 35 percent from 2015 to 2017.

Are There Any Alternatives When A Physician Offers My Child Opioids for Pain?

Whether your child has struggled with opioid dependence or other substance use issues previously, or whether you’re just concerned about the current opioid crisis, there’s good reason to want your son or daughter’s pain to be managed – if possible – by something other than prescription opioid pills. Eventually, your child might have an orthopedic injury or need a tooth pulled at the dentist, so what happens then?

alternative medications