CHICAGO (AP) -- Doctors are trying to reassure back-pain patients worried about getting meningitis from steroid shots.
The reason for the alarm: a meningitis outbreak that has killed at least five people and sickened more than 40 others in seven states. The outbreak has been linked to apparently fungus-contaminated steroid solution from a Massachusetts pharmacy.
Millions of patients get steroid shots in their spines to relieve pain, and doctors who do these injections say they are extremely safe when done correctly with sterile drugs.
Many doctors stick to medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration instead of relying on so-called compounding pharmacies like the Massachusetts business.
Some physicians say patients should ask their doctors if the steroids they are getting come from that kind of pharmacy.