Nothing aggravates me more in clinic than seeing that most physicians still haven’t gotten the memo on cortisone shot side effects. Not a day goes by that I don’t speak with a new patient with knee, shoulder, hip, or ankle arthritis who just had a cortisone shot. Given that these shots are highly toxic to joint cartilage (especially when mixed with the most common anesthetic Marcaine), why is this still routinely being done? How toxic? In one animal study a single shot of this Marcaine anesthetic killed half of all the cartilage cells! While cortisone is a potent anti-inflammatory, the doses being used send cartilage and local stem cells toward pre-programmed cell death, a fate known as apoptosis. Until we began stem cell work and researching this topic, like most physicians, we were using steroid and Marcaine to inject arthritic joints and believed that since patients seemed to be reporting improvements, we were helping them. Then we did a simple study in 2007 looking at whether these medications could be used around stem cells. Seeing how toxic these medicines were to human stem cells, we looked deeper and were blown away by the mountains of data already published about how deadly these drugs were to cartilage.
So this morning I put together a simple image that I’d like the readers of my blog to share. Since physicians aren’t getting the memo, I need evangelist patients to begin educating patients and their physicians on cortisone shot side effects. So click on the share buttons below and find a service you use and share this image so that we can help prevent the routine use of these toxic injections! If physicians need to see the studies, clicking on any of these links will lead to many peer reviewed studies that support what I’ve said. Most patients in 2013 shouldn’t be getting steroid shots in their arthritic joints.