Thursday, November 04, 2010

Caution on cortisone

Everyone I know with painy joints has tried cortisone shots. A first try before the expensive hyaluronic acid or partial or total joint tinkering.

Cortisone can provide short-term relief, for sure. But the British journal The Lancet recently looked at a bunch of studies involving 2,672 patients, who had cortisone or placebo or other non-surgical treatments, and found the cortisone to be short-lived.

In one—tennis elbow--the cortisone was good for up to eight weeks, but the pain was worse months or years after than in people who did nothing.

No one is sure why—and these different studies were apples and oranges—but the researchers think maybe corticosteroids weaken the cell structure of tendons.

I had one doctor describe cortisone as poison—we can only give you so much poison.

All drugs have side effects—what we are shooting for are the GOOD side effects—but the word poison stuck with me.

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