Generic Name: glatiramer (injection) (gla TIR a mer)
Brand Name: Copaxone
What is glatiramer?
Glatiramer is a combination of four amino acids (proteins) that affect the immune system.
Glatiramer is used to treat multiple sclerosis (MS) and to prevent relapse of MS.
Glatiramer will not cure MS, but it can make relapses occur less often.
Glatiramer may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What is the most important information I should know about glatiramer?
Follow all directions on your medicine label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using glatiramer?
You should not use this medication if you are allergic to glatiramer or to mannitol.
To make sure glatiramer is safe for you, tell your doctor about your other medical conditions.
FDA pregnancy category B. Glatiramer is not expected to harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.
It is not known whether glatiramer passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
How should I use glatiramer?
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Glatiramer 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 understand how to give the injection and properly dispose of used needles and syringes.
This medicine 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.
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 glatiramer into the same place two times within 1 week.
Glatiramer prefilled syringes are for a single use only. Throw away the vials or syringes after each injection.
Store the prefilled syringes and vials (bottles) of glatiramer in the refrigerator. Do not allow the medicine to freeze.
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.
You may also store glatiramer at room temperature, away from moisture, light, and high heat. Glatiramer will keep for up to 30 days if stored at room temperature. Throw away any unused glatiramer that has been at room temperature for longer than 30 days.
Do not use glatiramer if it has changed colors or has particles in it. Call your pharmacist for new medication.
Use a disposable needle and syringe 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.
Do not stop using glatiramer without first talking with your doctor.
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 glatiramer?
Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.
Glatiramer side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: 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 glatiramer for several months.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
flushing (warmth, redness, or tingly feeling); or
pounding heartbeats or fluttering in your chest.
Common 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)
Glatiramer dosing information
Usual Adult Dose for Multiple Sclerosis:
20 mg subcutaneously once a day or 40 mg subcutaneously three times a week.
For the three times a week dosage regimen, each dose must be separated by at least 48 hours.
For the treatment of patients with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis
What other drugs will affect glatiramer?
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 glatiramer
Related treatment guides
Where can I get more information?
- Your pharmacist can provide more information about glatiramer.
- Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
- Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
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