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Arthritis Drug No Help for Back Pain

People with chronic back pain are willing to do just about anything for relief. Before they sign up for surgery some undergo spinal injections of corticosteroids. Sciatica, pain in the back and leg caused by a pinched nerve, is notoriously difficult to treat with drugs. A new study involving 81 patients with sciatica compared spinal shots with the steroid methylprednisolone to saline or the arthritis drug etanercept, known by the brand name Enbrel. The steroid injections offered slightly better pain relief at one month than the salt water injections and both were better than Enbrel.

[Annals of Internal Medicine, online April 16, 2012]

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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