Epidural Steroid Injections May Reduce Costs As Well As Pain

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Eric Sun, MD/PhD Instructor Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine Stanford University

Dr. Eric Sun

Eric Sun, MD/PhD
Instructor
Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine
Stanford University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? 

Dr. Sun: Epidural steroid injections are frequently used to treat chronic low back pain.  While previous studies have shown they are effective at improving symptoms, whether they reduce spending is unknown.  These concerns are particularly salient because insurers are worried that epidural steroid injections are being overused.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Dr. Sun: Overall, we find that epidural steroid injections were associated with decreases in spending ranging from five to fifteen percent, depending on the specific indication.  These differences were largely driven by decreases in outpatient spending (e.g., spending on outpatient physician visits).

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report? 

Dr. Sun: In addition to reducing pain symptoms, epidural steroid injections may also reduce health care spending.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Sun: More efforts to identify the effect of epidural steroids on health care spending, as well as the cost-effectiveness of these procedures overall.

Citation:

Presented at the 2016 Academy of Pain Medicine  Annual Meeting

Do Epidural Steroid Injections Reduce Healthcare Spending for Patients with Low Back Pain? Evidence from the Marketscan® Database

Eric Sun, MD PhD,  Beth Darnall, PhD1; Laurence Baker, PhD1; Sean Mackey, MD PhD1

Eric Sun, MD/PhD (2016). Epidural Steroid Injections May Reduce Costs As Well As Pain 

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