| Corticosteroid Joint Injections |
Reproduced with permission of Schering Corporation.
All rights reserved.
What is a cortico steroid?
Injuries or diseases, such as arthritis, bursitis, or tendonitis, involve joints which sometimes become swollen and painful. Without treatment, permanent damage may occur.

A local injection of a corticosteroid (commonly called a steroid) is one of the treatment options your physician may recommend. A corticosteroid will not cure your condition or injury, but it will probably reduce inflammation, and by doing so, reduce the pain and swelling which is making you uncomfortable.

I don't like injections. Why can't I take a pill?
Your doctor wants to offer you relief from the pain and inflammation you are experiencing as quickly as possible. While there are many excellent medications available in tablet or capsule form, in general, these products work indirectly, whereas a corticosteroid injection will act directly at the site of the problem. One injection will also save you from having to remember to take pills over a number of days or weeks.
There have been media reports about athletes abusing steroids. Are they the same as corticosteroids?

No! There are different types of steroids. The type that athletes have been reported to have abused are from a group of steroids called anabolic steroids. They are chemically different from the category of drug (the corticosteroids) that are used to treat joint inflammation.

Anabolic steroids are very controversial. Some athletes believe that anabolic steroids improve physical performance by making muscles stronger, though there is no evidence to support this theory. In addition, patients can experience side effects with any drug.

Be assured that the corticosteroid your doctor will use to reduce your pain and inflammation is not an anabolic steroid.

I've read bad things about corticosteroids. Will these things happen to me?
Corticosteroids, used properly, are safe and effective drugs for certain conditions. You should ask your doctor about potential side effects.

Will the injection hurt?
As with any injection, you may feel pain. Use of an ice pack on the injection site for a few hours after the injection should help minimize any discomfort you may feel. Local swelling from the medication may cause slight discomfort for a day.

Resting after the injection will usually hasten improvement.

Avoid activities that put stress on the joint for the first few days.

How soon will I feel better?
This varies according to the steroid used by your doctor. Some products work within an hour or two; others may take 24 to 48 hours. To provide some pain relief before the steroids effects begin, your doctor may inject an anesthetic along with the steroid.

How long will I feel better?
Again, this will vary according to the steroid used by your doctor, the severity of your symptoms, and the condition being treated. Symptom relief may last for a few weeks.

You must consult your physician for important information before using this drug.

Some helpful definitions

ARTHRITIS - any swelling of the joints, marked by pain and warmth.

BURSA - a sac of fluid around a joint that acts as a cushion and helps the joint move easily.

BURSITIS - an inflammation of the bursa caused by overuse, injury, or infection of a joint.

CORTICOSTEROID - medicine used to reduce inflammation.

INFLAMMATION - redness, heat, swelling, and/or pain that may occur when tissue is injured or diseased.

JOINT - the junction between two or more bones.

JOINT ASPIRATION - a procedure in which a needle is used to withdraw excess fluid from a joint.

JOINT INJECTION - medicine given through a needle into the joint to reduce inflammation.

LOCAL ANESTHETIC - numbing medicine, that may be mixed with a corticosteroid and injected into a joint to decrease pain.

TENDON - a fiber-like cord that attaches a muscle to a bone.

TENDONITIS - an inflammation of a tendon that may be caused by overuse, as in "tennis elbow.

This patient education brochure is a service provided by Kenilworth Pharmaceuticals,
makers of
brand of betamethasone sodium phosphate and betamethasone acetate
Injectable Suspension, USP

*brand of rapid and repository injectable



Copyright © 1997, Schering Corporation, Kenilworth, NJ 07033.
All rights reserved. KCO1 19/2033 1402 6/97