Objective: To assess whether a nonparticulate steroid (dexamethasone, 10mg) is less clinically effective than the particulate steroids (triamcinolone, 80mg; betamethasone, 12mg) in lumbar transforaminal epidural steroid injections (TFESIs) in subjects with radicular pain with or without radiculopathy. Design: Retrospective observational study with noninferiority analysis of dexamethasone relative to particulate steroids. Setting: Single academic radiology pain management practice. Subjects: Three thousand six hundred forty-five lumbar TFESIs at the L4-5, L5-S1, or S1 neural foramina, performed on 2,634 subjects. Methods/Outcome Measures: Subjects were assessed with a pain numerical rating scale (NRS, 0-10) and Roland-Morris disability questionnaire (R-M) prior to TFESI, and at 2 weeks and 2 months follow-up. For categorical outcomes, successful pain relief was defined as either ≥50% reduction in NRS or pain 0/10; functional success was defined as ≥40% reduction in R-M score. Noninferiority analysis was performed with δ=-10% as the limit of noninferiority. Continuous outcomes (mean NRS, R-M scores) were analyzed for noninferiority with difference bounds of 0.3 for NRS scores and 1.0 for R-M scores. Results: With categorical outcomes, dexamethasone was demonstrated to be noninferior to the particulate steroids in pain relief and functional improvement at 2 months. Using continuous outcomes, dexamethasone was demonstrated to be superior to the particulate steroids in both pain relief and functional improvement at 2 months. Conclusion: This retrospective observational study reveals no evidence that dexamethasone is less effective than particulate steroids in lumbar TFESIs performed for radicular pain with or without radiculopathy.
- Lower Limb Pain
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine