What is cortisone?
It is a hormone produced by a small gland on top of the kidney called the adrenal gland. It is essential to the proper functioning of your body, particularly when under stress. Its absence is known as Addison's Disease, which without treatment is fatal. Cortisone is a normal body product therefore; there are no allergic reactions. In cases of people with severe allergies, it is one of our most effective treatment tools. Cortisone by itself is rarely used today as it is relatively short acting and of low potency. Semi-artificial cortisone derivatives, such as DepoMedrol, Celestone, Kenalog, and a number of others, are used with increased benefits and fewer side effects.
Steroid injection has been around since the early 1950s, and it remains a primary treatment for general practitioners all the way to orthopedic surgeons. Why? First of all, it offers the hope of quick relief. Second, it’s a Big Fat Cash Cow. Let’s do the math. Say you have sciatica, and you go to see Dr. Prick Butt and he says, “Not much I can do for you other than give you a steroid injection. Of course, it may take up to three of these to achieve the best results.” Three injections @ $150 per injection = $450. Now, taking into account that the average orthopedist probably sees at least 20 patients a day and works 180 days a year, that comes to 3,600 patients. If 20 percent of those patients get three steroid injections, that’s an annual income of $324,000 ($450 X 750 patients). That’s for 10 minutes of work per patient. And you wonder why things haven’t changed in more than 50 years.
Steroids killed nine-year-old Lexie McConnell after only five and a half weeks. In August 1993, Lexie was diagnosed as having toxoplasmosis. The consultant put her on 80 mg per day of prednisolone. Immediately, she suffered severe side effects, huge weight gain , terrible pains, holes in her tongue and black stools. After nearly a month, at her parents' pleading, the doctors quickly lowered the dosage to 60 mg, 40 mg, 20 mg. In excruciating pain, Lexie was taken to a hospital, where it was discovered she'd contracted chickenpox. Four days later, she died. A few years later, another eye specialist declared that a simple course of antibiotics could have cleared up her infection. The above excerpt is from Ursula Kelly's site