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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 16-21

A prospective randomized, double-blind, controlled clinical trial comparing epidural butorphanol plus corticosteroid with corticosteroid alone for sciatica due to herniated nucleus pulposus


1 Department of Orthopaedics, Burdwan Medical College, Burdwan, West Bengal, India
2 Department of Anesthesiology, Burdwan Medical College, Burdwan, West Bengal, India

Correspondence Address:
Abhijan Maity
Department of Orthopaedics, Burdwan Medical College, Burdwan, West Bengal
India
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DOI: 10.4103/2229-3485.92302

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Objective: To compare the efficacy of up to 3 epidural butorphanol plus corticosteroid with corticosteroid alone for sciatica due to herniated nucleus pulposus. Materials and Methods: In a randomized, double-blind controlled clinical trial, we administered up to 3 epidural injections of either 80 mg (2 mL) of methylprednisolone acetate and 1 mg (1 mL) of butorphanol diluted with 7 mL of isotonic saline or 80 mg (2 mL) of methylprednisolone acetate diluted with 8 mL of isotonic saline by a lumbar interlaminar approach under fluoroscopic guidance to 120 patients (60 patients in each group) with sciatica due to a herniated nucleus pulposus lasting for 4 weeks to 1 year. All patients had scores higher than 30 mm on visual analog scale (VAS). Information on the use of paracetamol, intensity of pain on a VAS ranging from 0 (no pain) to 100 mm (worst pain possible), Schober's test (cm), Straight Leg Raising test, neurologic examination assessing sensory deficits, motor deficits and reflex changes, and Oswestry Low Back Pain Disability Questionnaire were evaluated at 3 weeks, 6 weeks, and 3 months after the first injection. Results: There were no significant differences between the 2 groups with regard to baseline characteristics, withdrawals, and complication rate. Three weeks, 6 weeks, and 3 months after the first injection, all the outcome measures in the butorphanol plus corticosteroid group were significantly different from that of the corticosteroid group. Conclusions: Epidural butorphanol plus corticosteroid injections, as compared with corticosteroid alone injections, offered marked improvement in pain, reflex, motor and sensory deficits, and functional status and reduced the need for analgesics. Level of Evidence: Therapeutic Level I.


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