Generic Name: glatiramer (injection) (gla TIR a mer)
Brand Names: Copaxone
What is Copaxone?
Copaxone (glatiramer) is a combination of four amino acids (proteins) that affect the immune system.
Copaxone is used to treat multiple sclerosis (MS) and to prevent relapse of MS.
Copaxone will not cure MS, but it can make relapses occur less often.
Use Copaxone exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not use the medication in larger amounts, or use it for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow the instructions on your prescription label.
Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.
Copaxone is given as an injection under your skin. You may be given instructions on how to inject your medicine at home. Do not use this medicine at home if you do not fully understand how to give the injection and properly dispose of needles and syringes used in giving the medicine.
Some people receiving a Copaxone injection have had a severe reaction. Tell your caregiver right away if you feel anxious, warm, itchy, tingly, or have a pounding heartbeat, tightness in your throat, or trouble breathing during the injection. This type of reaction may occur even after you have been using this medicine for several months.
Before using this medicine
You should not use Copaxone if you are allergic to glatiramer or to mannitol.
To make sure Copaxone is safe for you, tell your doctor about your other medical conditions.
FDA pregnancy category B. Copaxone is not expected to harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.
See also: Pregnancy and breastfeeding warnings (in more detail)
It is not known whether glatiramer passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Tell your your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
How should I use Copaxone?
Use Copaxone exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.
Copaxone is injected under the skin. You may be shown how to use injections at home. Do not self inject this medicine if you do not fully understand how to give the injection and properly dispose of used needles and syringes.
This medication comes with patient instructions for safe and effective use. Follow these directions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
Wash and dry your hands before preparing the syringe and giving the injection.
Copaxone prefilled syringes are for a single use only. Throw away the vial or syringe after each injection.
Before using the prefilled syringe, take it out of the refrigerator and let it warm at room temperature for 20 minutes. Do not warm the medication in a microwave or hot water. Do not remove air bubbles from the prefilled syringe or you may accidentally remove a small amount of the medicine.
Do not use Copaxone if it has changed colors or has particles in it. Call your doctor for a new prescription.
Use a different place on your body each time you give yourself an injection. Your doctor will show you the places on your body where you can safely inject the medication. Do not inject Copaxone into the same place two times within 1 week.
Do not stop using this medicine without first talking with your doctor.
Use a disposable needle only once. Follow any state or local laws about throwing away used needles and syringes. Use a puncture-proof "sharps" disposal container (ask your pharmacist where to get one and how to throw it away). Keep this container out of the reach of children and pets.
Store the prefilled syringes and vials (bottles) of Copaxone in the refrigerator. Do not allow the medicine to freeze.
You may also store Copaxone at room temperature, away from moisture, light, and high heat. Copaxone will keep for up to 30 days if stored at room temperature. Throw away any unused Copaxone that has been at room temperature for longer than 30 days.
Copaxone dosing information
Usual Adult Dose for Multiple Sclerosis:
For reduction of the frequency of relapses in patients with Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis:
20 mg subcutaneously once a day.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Use the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while using Copaxone?
Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.
Copaxone side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to Copaxone: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Some side effects may occur during the injection. Tell your caregiver right away if you feel anxious, warm, itchy, tingly, or have a pounding heartbeat, tightness in your throat, or trouble breathing. This type of reaction may occur even after you have been using Copaxone for several months.
Stop using Copaxone and call your doctor at once if you have:
flushing (warmth, redness, or tingly feeling); or
pounding heartbeats or fluttering in your chest.
Common Copaxone side effects include:
redness, minor pain, itching, swelling, a lump, or skin changes where the injection was given.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect Copaxone?
Other drugs may interact with glatiramer, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.
More about Copaxone (glatiramer)
Related treatment guides
Where can I get more information?
- Your pharmacist can provide more information about Copaxone.
- Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Copaxone only for the indication prescribed.
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