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Where and how should Copaxone be injected?

Medically reviewed by Carmen Fookes, BPharm. Last updated on Nov 15, 2021.

Official answer

by Drugs.com

Copaxone should be administered by subcutaneous injection (into the fatty layer under the skin) into the upper outer arms, abdomen (but not within two inches of your belly button), fleshy part of the hips, or top outer part of the thighs.

There are two recognized strengths of Copaxone, 20mg/ml and 40mg/ml. Copaxone 20mg/mL should be administered once daily, every day and Copaxone 40mg/ml should be administered three times per week (at least 48 hours between dosages), and preferably on the same day each week, for example, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

You should receive your first dose of Copaxone with a doctor or nurse present. This might be at your doctor’s office or with a visiting home health nurse who will show you how to give your own injections.

How do you administer Copaxone?

Copaxone comes in either a 20 mg Prefilled Syringe with needle attached or a 40 mg Prefilled Syringe with needle attached. Each syringe is for single use. Your doctor will prescribe the correct dose for you.

1. Take one blister pack containing a syringe from your Copaxone box stored in the refrigerator and leave it on a bench to warm to room temperature for about 20 minutes.
2. Wash your hands. Be careful not to touch your face or hair after washing your hands.
3. Check the syringe. There may be small air bubbles in it, which are perfectly normal, and the liquid in the syringe should look clear, and colorless or slightly yellow. If the liquid is cloudy or contains any particles, do not use the syringe, throw it away in a sharps disposal container, and get a new syringe out of the refrigerator.
4. Choose your injection area, which may be your upper outer arms, abdomen (but not within two inches of your belly button), fleshy part of the hips, or top outer part of the thighs. You should rotate injection sites each time you give yourself an injection so you are not injecting into the same site more than 1 time each week. Do not inject into sites that are scarred or diseased.
5. Clean your injection site using the alcohol wipe and allow your skin to air dry.
6. Pick up the syringe with one hand and hold it like a pencil. Remove the needle cover with your other hand and set it aside. Pinch up a fold of skin between your thumb and index finger with the hand not holding the needle. Insert the needle at a 90-degree angle straight into your skin. When the needle is all the way into your skin, release the fold of skin
7. To inject the medicine, hold the syringe steady and slowly push down the plunger until it can go no further. After you have injected all the medicine, pull the needle straight out.
8. Use a clean, dry cotton ball to gently press on the injection site for a few seconds. Do not rub the injection site or re-use the needle or syringe. Discard the needle and syringe into an FDA-approved sharps container. Do not throw away loose needles or syringes in your household trash.
9. When your sharps disposal container is almost full, you will need to follow your community guidelines for the right way to dispose of your sharps disposal container. For specific information about sharps disposal in the state that you live in, go to the FDA’s website at: http://www.fda.gov/safesharpsdisposal.

What is Copaxone?

Copaxone (glatiramer acetate) is a combination of four amino acids that may be used to treat relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) in adults, such as clinically isolated syndrome, relapsing-remitting disease, and active secondary progressive disease, in adults.

How does Copaxone work in the body?

Experts aren’t sure exactly how Copaxone works in MS but it is thought to modify immune processes that are believed to be responsible for the development of MS.
Research has shown that after administration of glatiramer, glatiramer-specific suppressor T-cells are induced and activated in the peripheral nervous system. Although glatiramer is thought to modify the immune system response to MS, it does not appear to modify naturally occurring immune responses, although this has not been systematically evaluated.

What happens if you miss a Copaxone injection?

If you miss a dose of Copaxone 20 mg/mL, you should inject the dose as soon as you remember or are able to take it, but do not double up on the dose. For example, if you remember on Monday afternoon that you didn’t take Monday morning’s dose then administer it, and just go back to your normal dosing schedule. But if you only remember on Tuesday that you didn’t rake Monday’s dose, then do not double the dose. Only one Copaxone 20 mg/mL injection should be administered each day.

If you miss a dose of Copaxone 40 mg/mL, then take your next dose as soon as you remember or are able to take it, then skip the following day. Allow at least 48 hours between dosages. If possible, you should return to your regular administration schedule the following week. Do not use a double dose to make up for the dose that you missed.


References
  • Copaxone (glatiramer acetate) Updated 07/2020. Teva Neuroscience, Inc. https://www.drugs.com/pro/copaxone.html
  • Here to give injection answers at any time. Copaxone.com. 2021. https://www.copaxone.com/injection-assistance/preparing-your-injection

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