The use and safety of corticosteroid injections for shoulder pain in general practice: a retrospective cohort study

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Guidelines for shoulder pain in general practice recommend treatment with corticosteroid injections (CSI) if initial pain management fails. However, little is known about the actual use and safety of CSIs in treatment by general practitioners (GP).

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to gain insight into the use and safety of CSIs for patients with a new episode of shoulder pain in general practice.

METHODS: A retrospective cohort study was conducted using a healthcare database containing the electronic medical records of approximately 200,000 patients in general practice. A search algorithm was constructed to identify patients with a new episode of shoulder pain between January 2012 and December 2017. Data on the use of CSIs in 2 random samples (n = 1,000) were manually validated for a 12-month period after the diagnosis.

RESULTS: In total, 26% of the patients with a new episode of shoulder pain received a CSI. The patient's age (OR 1.03, 95% CI 1.02-1.04) and a history of shoulder pain (OR 1.52, 95% CI 1.13-2.12) were significantly associated with the administration of a CSI. Half of the patients received the CSI in the first consultation. The patient's age was positively associated with the likelihood of receiving the CSI in the first consultation (OR 1.01, 95% CI 1.00-1.02). No serious adverse reactions were recorded by the GP.

CONCLUSION: In contrast to the guidelines, CSIs were frequently administered in the first consultation. Older patients and patients with a history of shoulder pain were more likely to receive a CSI for shoulder pain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367-372
Number of pages6
JournalFamily Practice
Volume39
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding:
This study was part of a project funded by ‘Stichting Fonds Alledaagse Ziekten’ (reference number SFAZ 2018-02).

© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press.

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