Copaxone (Glatiramer) is used to reduce the number of times you suffer attacks of MS (relapses). It It is used to treat patients who are able to walk without help. Copaxone may also be used in patients who have experienced symptoms for the first time which indicate a high risk of developing MS.

Why have I been prescribed Copaxone?

  • Copaxone (Glatiramer) is used to reduce the number of times you suffer attacks of MS (relapses). 
  • It is used to treat patients who are able to walk without help.
  • Copaxone may also be used in patients who have experienced symptoms for the first time which indicate a high risk of developing MS.

How does it work?

  • Copaxone modifies the way in which your body’s immune system works (it is classed as an immunomodulating agent). The symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS) are thought to be caused by a defect in the body’s immune system, which causes it to attack the insulation (Myelin) around nerves. Copaxone stops it doing this.

When and how do I take it?

Copaxone is injected under the skin daily. See leaflet that comes with Copaxone for instructions on how to inject it.

What’s the dose?

20mg daily.

Could it interact with other tablets?

  • There is no evidence of any interaction between Copaxone and other medicines. However, you should still tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking or have recently taken any other medicines, including medicines obtained without a prescription.

Herbal products should also only be taken after talking with your doctor.

What are the possible risks or side-effects?

Very common (more than 1 in 10 patients):

  • Skin reactions at the injection site. They included: reddening of skin, pain, formation of wheals, itching, tissue swelling, inflammation and hypersensitivity at the injection site. These injection site reactions are not unusual and normally decrease over time.

Further very common side effects included:

  • Gastrointestinal disorders: nausea
  • General disorders: feeling weak, chest pain, non-specific pain
  • Infections: infections, flu
  • Musculoskeletal disorders: pain in the joints or back
  • Nervous system disorders: headache
  • Psychiatric disorders: anxiety, depression
  • Skin disorders: skin rash

Common (less than 1 in 10, but more than 1 in 100 patients):

  • Blood disorders: swollen lymph nodes
  • Cardiac disorders: rapid heart beats, rapid and throbbing heartbeat (palpitations)
  • Ear disorders: ear problems
  • Eye disorders: eye problems, double vision
  • Gastrointestinal disorders: problems with your bottom, constipation, tooth fillings, indigestion, difficulty swallowing, bowel incontinence, vomiting.
  • General disorders: chills, local reactions, accumulation of fluid, swollen ankles, swollen face, high temperature, loss of tissue under the skin at injection site
  • Immune system disorders: allergic reactions
  • Infections: infection of the respiratory track, stomach, ear, runny nose, cold sores, tooth abscess, vaginal thrush
  • Liver disorders: abnormal liver function test
  • Metabolic disorders: weight gain, loss of appetite
  • Musculoskeletal disorders: pain in your neck
  • Neoplasms benign and malignant disorders: skin growths, tissue growth
  • Nervous system disorders: altered taste, abnormal tension of arteries or muscles, migraine, problems with speech, fainting, tremor
  • Psychiatric disorders: nervousness
  • Renal disorders: inability to empty your bladder, need to empty your bladder quickly, frequent urination
  • Respiratory disorders: cough, hayfever
  • Skin disorders: bruising, excessive sweating, itching, nettle rash and other skin problems

Can I drink alcohol while taking it?

  • There are no known interactions between alcohol and Glatiramer acetate.
  • Always ask you doctor or pharmacist however as other medications you are taking may have a bearing on this.

What if I’m pregnant/breastfeeding?

  • Do not take Copaxone 20 mg/ml if you are pregnant. Tell your doctor if you become pregnant while you are taking this medicine or if you plan to become pregnant.
  • You should use effective birth-control (e.g. the ‘pill’ or condoms) to avoid pregnancy during the treatment with Copaxone. In case you would like to breast-feed while taking Copaxone, please discuss this first with your doctor.

If you have any more questions please ask your Pharmacist.

Remember to keep all medicines out of reach of children
Please Note:
We have made every effort to ensure that the content of this information sheet is correct at time of publish, but remember that information about drugs may change. This sheet does not list all the uses and side-effects associated with this drug. For full details please see the drug information leaflet which comes with your medicine. Your doctor will assess your medical circumstances and draw your attention to any information or side-effects which may be relevant in your particular case.

References:

http://www.ms-society.ie/uploads/File/Living%20with%20MS/Treating%20and%20Managing%20MS/MS%20Ireland%20Copaxone%20Information%20Sheet%20-%20March%202015.pdf

http://www.drugs.com/copaxone.html

https://www.copaxone.com/

http://www.rxlist.com/copaxone-drug.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glatiramer_acetate


 

Health Reference: Multiple sclerosis