The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently issued a warning about the use of epidural corticosteroid injections to treat serious neurological problems, such as back injury pain caused by a workers’ compensation injury.
FDA Issues Warning Regarding Use of Steroid Injections for Neck and Back Pain
On April 29, 2014, the FDA issued a new warning regarding the rare but possible neurological effects of using epidural corticosteroid injections. The warning was issued pursuant to the FDA’s Safe Use Initiative, which is designed to reduce the number of people who suffer from unnecessary injuries and death caused by medication errors.
Corticosteroid injections (or “steroid injections” for short) are used to reduce swelling or inflammation. They are often given to treat neck and back pain. They also are given to treat pain that radiates down the arms and legs. Common injectable corticosteroids include methylprednisolone, hydrocortisone, triamcinolone, betamethasone, and dexamethasone.
For years, doctors have been injecting corticosteroids into the epidural space of the spine to help back and neck pain sufferers. However, the FDA has not studied the effectiveness and safety of steroid injections in the spine and it has not approved using corticosteroids this way.
In fact, an initial review by the FDA has shown that the injection of corticosteroids into the epidural space of the spine may result in serious, but rare, negative medical consequences. These can include loss of vision, stroke, paralysis, and even death.
Because of these risks, the FDA is now requiring doctors talk with their patients about the possible risks factors involved in using injectable corticosteroids. It also is requiring new warning labels on the drugs.
Florida Workers’ Compensation And Neck Or Back Injury
Neck and back pain are two of the most common Florida workers’ compensation (WC) injuries. Last year, in Florida, over 7,500 workers sustained a back injury and another 900 sustained a neck injury. The average medical cost for back injuries was almost $7,500 and the average medical cost for neck injuries was over $10,000.
Employees with valid workers’ compensation claims are entitled to payment of all medical, surgical, and hospital costs related to treating the work injury. This includes doctor bills, hospital bills, medicines, medical and surgical supplies, and crutches, walkers or wheelchairs. Workers’ compensation employees also are entitled to compensation for lost time and travel expenses related to getting to the ordered treatments or examinations.
In order to get the best medical care for your worker’s compensation injury, it is important to remember your ABC’s– (A) Ask your doctor questions; (B) Be prepared for your appointments by making lists of issues and concerns; and (C) Communicate your needs, wishes and fears to your doctor.
However, sometimes advocating for yourself just is not enough. If you need help getting the workers’ compensation medical care you deserve, please call the attorneys at Sternberg | Forsythe, P.A. at (561) 687-5660. We are here to assist you if you are injured or became ill due to workplace conditions. We offer day, evening and weekend appointments. We can also travel to you if you are not able to come to our Orlando, Boca Raton or West Palm Beach offices.