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I-Team: Dangers Side Effects Of Steroid Shots

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Andrea Lucia
Andrea joined CBS 11 and TXA 21 in September 2010, one day befo...
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(CBS 11 I-TEAM) – If you’ve ever had common illnesses like a sinus or respiratory infection — or laryngitis — there’s a chance you’ve had a steroid shot. But some claim they didn’t know — weren’t informed about — the risks of that shot and the unsightly crater it could leave on their body.

After Meagan McNeely of Kaufman had her son, she was feeling rundown.

“The doctor that I saw said I had laryngitis. He gave me a kenalog shot.”

Click here to see the FDA’s Index to Drug-Specific Information, which lists safety information and potential side effects.

The steroid helped clear the laryngitis. But McNeely was shocked at what she noticed a few weeks later.

“Just looking the mirror one day, getting ready, I saw it back there. And at first, I thought, ‘What is that?’”

She saw a large dent in her backside.

“If I wear a swim suit, you can see it. It looks like a big chunk taken out back there. It looks like a crater hole.”

The I-Team found dozens of similar complaints online. One person described a crater the size of a golf ball. Another said her dent just keeps getting bigger.  All had been treated with injectable steroids.

Dermatologist Ranella Hirsh says steroids are important drugs used to treat everything from allergies to cancer and that this dimpling is rare side effect.

“If you don’t go into the muscle itself, you can actually get what we call lipo-atrophy, which is a focus loss of the fat and that can appear on top of the skin as a dent.”

Hirsh says it’s important to go to an experienced practitioner to make sure the shot is administered properly.

Bristol-Meyers Squibb is the company that makes kenalog. In an emailed statement, the company said:

“The prescribing information… includes local administration information to help health care practitioners reduce the possibility of tissue atrophy.”

The company also told the I-Team although the dimpling can be permanent, it often resolves on its own.

McNeely is going on a year with her dent and the only way to fix it is using injectable fillers.  “It would cost 900 dollars, and it’s not covered by insurance because it’s cosmetic,” says McNeely.

“There’s always a balance between the benefits you are gong to get with the therapy and the risks associated with that therapy,” says Hirsh.

But McNeely says she was never warned and if she had been, she might have skipped the shot.

“That’s the thing that drives me crazy is that I would have been fine without having that steroid shot. You know? And now I’m stuck with this big dent.”

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