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Rev Rhum Engl Ed. 1997 Oct;64(10):549-55.

A pragmatic cost-effectiveness study of routine epidural corticosteroid injections for lumbosciatic syndrome requiring inhospital management.

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  • 1CEMKA, Bourg-la-Reine, France.

Abstract

A multicenter randomized study was conducted using a pragmatic approach to evaluate the benefits and costs of routine epidural corticosteroid injections for the treatment of lumbosciatic syndrome requiring inhospital management. The primary evaluation criterion was whether other treatments were required after one to three injections. The 108 patients were randomly allocated to treatment with or without routine epidural corticosteroids. Rest and a nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug were used in all patients. The two groups were comparable at baseline except for a larger proportion of males in the routine epidural corticosteroid group. Patients in the routine epidural corticosteroid group were more likely to require other treatments, but the difference was only of borderline significance after adjustment for gender. Results showed that physicians based their treatment decisions primarily on whether an improvement in the clinical status of the patient was apparent at the second visit. None of the other factors studied influenced treatment decisions. Clinical efficacy criteria were identical in the two groups. Hospital costs contributed most of the total cost, and the mean cost was higher in the routine epidural corticosteroid group. These data suggest that adding an epidural injection as a first-line treatment to rest and a nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug for the treatment of lumbosciatic syndrome requiring inhospital management results in additional costs and no gain in efficacy.

PMID:
9385692
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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