Over the last decade, numerous studies have warned that spinal injections of epidural steroids, which are commonly used to treat back pain and inflammation, can cause rare but severe side effects — blindness, paralysis, stroke, and death. These corticosteroid injections were never approved for spinal use, and our lawyers are concerned that patients were not warned about the risk.
Corticosteroids are anti-inflammatory medications that are frequently injected into the epidural space in the spine to treat back pain, radiating pain in the arms or legs, swelling, and inflammation.
Types of Epidural Steroid Injections
FDA Warning for Spinal Steroid Injections
April 2014 — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning that spinal injections of corticosteroids can result in deadly adverse events — spinal cord infarction, paraplegia, quadriplegia, cortical blindness, stroke, seizures, nerve injury, brain edema, and death.
According to the Drug Safety Communication:
“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.”
Symptoms can appear within minutes, or up to 48 hours after the injection. You should call 9-1-1 or seek emergency medical attention immediately if you develop symptoms, such as:
- loss of vision or vision changes
- tingling in your arms or legs
- sudden weakness or numbness of your face, arm, or leg on one or both sides of the body
- severe headache
Spinal Cord Infarction
Several studies published in the last decade have linked epidural spinal injections to cases of spinal cord infarction (stroke in the spine), an extremely serious complication that often causes disability or death.
Spinal cord infarction symptoms:
- Intermittent sharp or burning back pain
- Aching pain down through the legs
- Weakness in the legs
- Loss of deep tendon reflexes
- Loss of pain and temperature sensation