West Chester, OH
Low back pain is a leading cause of disability and health care costs in the United States, and treatments are ineffective for many patients. Epidural steroid injections are a common treatment, but their efficacy has been questioned and for many patients they do not provide complete relief. The investigators hypothesize, based on preclinical studies, that lack of complete efficacy may be due to the fact that clinically used steroids activate not only the intended drug target, the glucocorticoid receptor, but also the pro-inflammatory mineralocorticoid receptor. To test this hypothesis, this pilot study will recruit patients scheduled for lumbar epidural steroid injections for degenerative disc disease, and randomize them to receive a concurrent treatment with oral eplerenone (a clinically approved antagonist of the mineralocorticoid receptor) or placebo for 10 days starting just after the epidural injection. At several time points during the following year, subjects will answer the Oswestry Low Back Pain Questionnaire, to report on both pain and functional outcomes.