FDA warns consumers for risks to Cortisone injections in the spine

The Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers that injections of corticosteroids into the spine's epidural space which is an extremely common treatment for radiating back or neck pain may result in loss of vision, stroke, paralysis and death in rare cases. The FDA said that the physicians distributing these injections to patients should discuss these rare but serious risks with patients considering a jab of steroidal medication into the cerebrospinal fluid. Serious adverse events included death, spinal cord infarction, paraplegia, quadriplegia, cortical blindness, stroke, seizures, nerve injury, and brain edema. Injectable corticosteroids must now carry a new label warning about the risks of severe adverse effects from epidural injections including death, stroke, and permanent blindness and paralysis. According to FDA, many cases were temporally associated with the corticosteroid injections, with adverse events occurring within minutes to 48 hours after the corticosteroid injections. In some cases, diagnoses of neurologic adverse events were confirmed through magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography scan. Many patients did not recover from these reported adverse events. The FDA accentuated that the warning is not linked to the fungal contamination problem associated with steroids used in epidural injections.