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Statement regarding steroid injections in the news linked to meningitis

Hospital for Special Surgery does not use any drug for back pain that has been linked to meningitis

New York—October 25, 2012


The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a list of providers that received products from New England Compounding Center (NECC) since May 21, 2012. Although Hospital for Special Surgery did not receive any drugs from NECC, we are on the list because one of our private practice physicians prescribed one medication for a patient from this compounding company. Although the medication prescribed is not methylprednisolone, the steroid linked to meningitis, this physician realized that the drug was from NECC and did not give it to the patient. 

At Hospital for Special Surgery we do not use any medications that have been linked to the meningitis outbreak and NECC. HSS physicians use FDA approved medications from known pharmaceutical companies for spinal procedures such as epidural steroid injections.

At HSS our patients’ safety and well-being are and have always been our top concerns. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call your physician's office.


UPDATE: October 16, 2012

A number of our patients have expressed concerns about steroid injections for back pain as a result of current news reports on this topic.

At Hospital for Special Surgery we do not use any medications for back pain made by the compounding pharmacy that has been in the news in connection with a rare outbreak of meningitis. HSS physicians use FDA approved medications from known pharmaceutical companies for spinal procedures such as epidural steroid injections.

To further clarify, HSS does not use any drugs made by the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass.

As board-certified physicians with advanced training in interventional spine procedures,  our doctors who specialize in performing spinal injections have been safely providing these treatments at Hospital for Special Surgery for many years. An epidural injection is one of the safest procedures that one can have for back pain or sciatica. We perform these injections frequently as part of a comprehensive program for recovery from back pain including the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine.

To reduce the risk of infection, HSS physicians use brand-name medication from single-dose vials and perform injections using meticulous sterile technique.  The quality control process begins with proper storage of the drug and carries through to the time when it is given to the patient in a procedure room that is only used for sterile injections. 

At HSS our patients' safety and well-being are and have always been our top concerns. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call your physician’s office.


UPDATE: October 8, 2012

An estimated 13,000 patients may have been exposed to the tainted spinal steroid injections which have sickened more than 100 people with fungal meningitis and killed eight, federal officials said Monday, as clinics and surgery centers continued to reach out to those who could be affected.


October 4, 2012

An outbreak of a rare and deadly form of meningitis has sickened 26 people who received steroid injections mostly for back pain, according to health officials. None of these patients was treated in New York.

Eighteen cases of fungal meningitis were in Tennessee where a Nashville clinic received the largest shipment of the steroid suspected in the outbreak--methylprednisolone. The drug was made by a specialty pharmacy in Massachusetts that issued a recall last week. Investigators say they are still trying to confirm the source of the infections.

Three cases have been reported in Virginia, two in Maryland, two in Florida and one in North Carolina.

We want to reassure you that at Hospital for Special Surgery we do not use any drugs made by the manufacturer referenced above. In addition, the drug methylprednisolone is not used to treat back and neck pain at HSS.

If you have any additional questions, please call your physician’s office.


About HSS | Hospital for Special Surgery
HSS is the world’s leading academic medical center focused on musculoskeletal health. At its core is Hospital for Special Surgery, nationally ranked No. 1 in orthopedics (for the ninth consecutive year) and No. 3 in rheumatology by U.S.News & World Report (2018-2019). Founded in 1863, the Hospital has one of the lowest infection rates in the country and was the first in New York State to receive Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing Service from the American Nurses Credentialing Center four consecutive times. The global standard total knee replacement was developed at HSS in 1969. An affiliate of Weill Cornell Medical College, HSS has a main campus in New York City and facilities in New Jersey, Connecticut and in the Long Island and Westchester County regions of New York State. In 2017 HSS provided care to 135,000 patients and performed more than 32,000 surgical procedures. People from all 50 U.S. states and 80 countries travelled to receive care at HSS. In addition to patient care, HSS leads the field in research, innovation and education. The HSS Research Institute comprises 20 laboratories and 300 staff members focused on leading the advancement of musculoskeletal health through prevention of degeneration, tissue repair and tissue regeneration. The HSS Global Innovation Institute was formed in 2016 to realize the potential of new drugs, therapeutics and devices. The culture of innovation is accelerating at HSS as 130 new idea submissions were made to the Global Innovation Institute in 2017 (almost 3x the submissions in 2015). The HSS Education Institute is the world’s leading provider of education on the topic on musculoskeletal health, with its online learning platform offering more than 600 courses to more than 21,000 medical professional members worldwide. Through HSS Global Ventures, the institution is collaborating with medical centers and other organizations to advance the quality and value of musculoskeletal care and to make world-class HSS care more widely accessible nationally and internationally.


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