Single steroids injections limited in relieving long-term pain from shingles

March 7, 2006

Utrecht, Netherlands -- According to a recent Dutch study, one epidural injection of steroids and local anesthetics may not ease long-term pain for shingles patients.

Utrecht, Netherlands - According to a recent Dutch study, one epidural injection of steroids and local anesthetics may not ease long-term pain for shingles patients.

The study, conducted by researchers at University Medical Center in Utrecht and published in The Lancet, looked at 598 shingles patients who received either oral antivirals and analgesics or a single additional injection of steroids (methylprednisolone) plus local anesthetics (bupivacaine).

After a month, fewer patients in the epidural group were reporting pain, though the study added that the benefit of the epidural was strongest in the first week after treatment and lasted no longer than a month.

The study concludes that single injections of steroids are limited in relieving long-term pain, and suggests that an epidural injection of corticosteroid and bupivacaine only be considered for patients with severe acute pain from herpes zoster who are not responding to standard analgesic therapy.