Objectives. To evaluate the efficacy of dexamethasone sodium phosphate (DSP), a non-particulate steroid, during percutaneous epidural adhesiolysis (PEA), as compared with triamcinolone acetate (TA).

Design. Retrospective observational study.

Setting. Interventional pain management clinic in a tertiary care center.

Subjects. Patients scheduled to receive PEA between March 2011 and January 2014.

Methods. 47 patients underwent the procedure with TA (TA group), and 26 patients underwent the procedure with DSP (DSP group). At the end of the procedure, 20 ml of 0.18% ropivacaine containing 3000 units of hyaluronidase and 80 mg of TA or 10 mg of DSP was injected. Success rates and means of percent decreases in terms of verbal numerical rating scale (VNRS) of pain and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) at follow-up visits 3 and 6 months after PEA were compared. Non-inferiority test was used for statistical analysis.

Results. At 3 months, the success rate in VNRS of TA group and DSP group were 59.6% and 53.8%. The mean percent decreases of VNRS were 42.4% and 46.1% in TA group and DSP group, respectively. At this time point, non-inferiority was not demonstrated. In contrast at 6 months, the success rate in aspect of VNRS was 45.2% in TA group and 62.5% in DSP group. The mean of percent decreases in the VNRS was 34.9% in TA group and 52.8% in DSP group. The non-inferiority was met in two measurements.

Conclusions. DSP presents non-inferiority to TA in terms of success rate and percentage decrease of the VNRS 6 months after PEA.

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