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Glatiramer

Generic Name: glatiramer (gla-TIR-a-mer)
Brand Name: Copaxone

Glatiramer is used for:

Treating relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS).

Glatiramer is a polypeptide mixture. How glatiramer works is not fully understood. However, it is thought to act by changing immune processes responsible for the effects of MS.

Do NOT use glatiramer if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in glatiramer or to mannitol

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

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Before using glatiramer:

Some medical conditions may interact with glatiramer. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with glatiramer. However, no specific interactions with glatiramer are known at this time.

Ask your health care provider if glatiramer may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use glatiramer:

Use glatiramer as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • An extra patient leaflet and detailed instructions for use is available with glatiramer. Talk to your pharmacist if you have questions about this information.
  • Glatiramer is usually given as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic. If you will be using glatiramer at home, a health care provider will teach you how to use it. Be sure you understand how to use glatiramer. Follow the procedures you are taught when you use a dose. Contact your health care provider if you have any questions.
  • Do not use glatiramer if it contains particles, is cloudy or discolored, or if the syringe is cracked or damaged.
  • Inject glatiramer under the skin, NOT into a muscle or vein. Inject into the stomach, thigh, upper arm, or outer hip. Rotate injection sites with each dose of glatiramer. This will help to decrease the risk of skin damage at the injection site.
  • Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and away from pets. Do not reuse needles, syringes, or other materials. Ask your health care provider how to dispose of these materials after use. Follow all local rules for disposal.
  • If you miss a dose of glatiramer, use it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not use 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use glatiramer.

Important safety information:

  • Tell your doctor or dentist that you take glatiramer before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
  • Glatiramer should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN younger than 18 years old; safety and effectiveness in these children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using glatiramer while you are pregnant. It is not known if glatiramer is found in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you use glatiramer, check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.

Possible side effects of glatiramer:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Back pain; flushing; mild redness, pain, swelling, or itching; a lump at the injection site; nausea; vomiting; weakness; weight gain.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing or swallowing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); chest pain; fast or irregular heartbeat; fever, chills, or sore throat; persistent flushing or anxiety; severe or persistent headache or dizziness; severe pain, redness, or swelling at injection site; shortness of breath; skin hardening, thinning, or color change at the injection site; swollen glands; tightness in the throat; tremor; unusual sweating; unusual swelling; vaginal odor, discharge, or itching; vision changes.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately.

Proper storage of glatiramer:

Store glatiramer in the refrigerator, between 36 and 46 degrees F (2 and 8 degrees C). Do not freeze. Do not use glatiramer if it has been frozen; throw it away. Glatiramer may be stored between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C) for up to 1 month. Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep glatiramer out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about glatiramer, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Glatiramer is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take glatiramer or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about glatiramer. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to glatiramer. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using glatiramer.

Issue Date: September 3, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.003
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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