When cortisone shots are used in the spine, they can increase the risk of life-threatening side effects like stroke, paralysis, infection, seizure, and even death. Our lawyers are evaluating cases involving side effects of spinal cortisone shots and infections caused by contaminated injections from compounding pharmacies.
What is a Cortisone Shot?
Cortisone shots are injections of corticosteroids, which are anti-inflammatory medications that help relieve pain and inflammation in a specific area of your body. They are most commonly given in joint spaces like the ankle, knee, elbow, hip, shoulder, spine, and wrist. Cortisone shots are used to treat a large number of conditions, including arthritis, gout, tendinitis, bursitis, and more.
Types of anti-inflammatory steroid shots:
FDA Safety Warning for Spinal Cortisone Shots
Cortisone shots are often given as epidural injections, in which a doctor injects the medication directly into the spine. This is used to treat back pain, radiating pain in the arms and legs, spinal stenosis, herniated discs, spinal nerve damage, and more.
The problem is that cortisone shots were never FDA-approved for spinal use and they have never been evaluated for this purpose in clinical trials. In April 2014, the FDA published a Drug Safety Communication and warned:
“Injection of corticosteroids into the epidural space of the spine may result in rare but serious adverse events, including loss of vision, stroke, paralysis, and death.”
Side Effects of Spinal Cortisone Shots
- Spinal cord infarction
- Cortical blindness
- Nerve injury
- Brain edema
Epidural Steroid Injections
Every year, thousands of people receive cortisone shots that were manufactured in compounding pharmacies. In recent years, several pharmacies have recalled medications after finding that they were contaminated with bacteria, fungus, or particulate matter. Patients who receive contaminated cortisone shots can develop life-threatening infections.
Cortisone Shots and Fungal Meningitis
In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) investigate a multi-state outbreak of fungal meningitis linked to compounded injections of methylprednisolone from New England Compounding Center in Massachusetts. At least 751 people were infected in 20 states, and 64 people died. In December 2013, a $100 million compensation fund was established to compensate victims of the outbreak.