Brand Name: Copaxone
Generic Name: glatiramer acetate
Drug Class: Immunomodulators
What is Copaxone, and what is it used for?
Copaxone is a prescription medicine that is used to treat relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS), including clinically isolated syndrome, relapsing-remitting disease, and active secondary progressive disease, in adults.
It is not known if Copaxone is safe and effective in children under 18 years of age.
Who should not use Copaxone?
What are the side effects of Copaxone?
Common side effects of Copaxone include:
- injection site reactions (e.g., pain, redness, soreness, itching, swelling, or a hard lump),
- joint aches,
- body aches,
- neck pain,
- back pain,
- double vision,
- increased urge to urinate,
- runny nose,
- swelling in your hands or feet,
- vaginal itching or discharge,
- flu symptoms,
- sore throat, or
- white patches or sores inside your mouth or on your lips.
Immediately after injection with Copaxone, you may experience:
- flushing (warmth, redness, or tingly feeling),
- chest pain,
- fast heartbeat,
- shortness of breath, or
These symptoms usually disappear quickly and usually do not require treatment. Tell your doctor if you have serious side effects from Copaxone including:
What is the dosage of Copaxone?
Copaxone is for subcutaneous use only. Do not administer intravenously. The dosing schedule depends on the product strength that is selected.
The recommended doses are:
- Copaxone 20 mg per mL: administer once per day or
- Copaxone 40 mg per mL: administer three times per week and at least 48 hours apart
- Copaxone 20 mg per mL and Copaxone 40 mg per mL are not interchangeable.
What drugs interact with Copaxone?
Interactions between Copaxone and other drugs have not been fully evaluated. Results from existing clinical trials do not suggest any significant interactions of Copaxone with therapies commonly used in MS patients, including the concurrent use of corticosteroids for up to 28 days. Copaxone has not been formally evaluated in combination with interferon beta.
Is Copaxone safe to use while pregnant or breastfeeding?
Before you use Copaxone, tell your doctor if you:
Copaxone (glatiramer acetate) is a prescription medicine that treats relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS), to include clinically isolated syndrome, relapsing-remitting disease, and active secondary progressive disease, in adults. It is not known if Copaxone is safe and effective in children under 18 years of age. Do not use Copaxone if you are allergic to glatiramer acetate, mannitol or any of the ingredients in Copaxone. Before using Copaxone, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
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Related Disease Conditions
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Multiple sclerosis or MS is an autoimmune disorder in which brain and spinal cord nerve cells become demyelinated. This damage results in symptoms that may include numbness, weakness, vertigo, paralysis, and involuntary muscle contractions. Different forms of MS can follow variable courses from relatively benign to life-threatening. MS is treated with disease-modifying therapies. Some MS symptoms can be treated with medications.
MS (Multiple Sclerosis) vs. ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis)
ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Lou Gehrig's disease) and MS (multiple sclerosis) are both diseases of the nervous system (neurodegenerative). ALS is a disease in which the nerve cells in the body are attacked by the immune system, although it's not considered an autoimmune disease by some scientists. MS is an autoimmune disease in which the insulated covering of the nerves (myelin sheath) in the CNS (central nervous system) degenerate, or deteriorate. Scientists don't know the exact cause of either problem. However, they have discovered that mutations in the gene that produces the SOD1 enzyme were associated with some cases of familial ALS. Scientists also theorize that multiple sclerosis may be caused by infection or vitamin D deficiency. ALS occurs between 50-70 years of age (the average age of occurrence ALS is 55), and mostly affects men. While MS occurs between 20-60 years of age, and mostly affects women. About 30,000 people in the US have ALS, and an average of 5,000 new diagnoses per year (that's about 15 new cases per week). Worldwide, MS affects more than 2.3 million people, with about 10,000 new cases diagnosed each year (that's about 200 new diagnoses per week).Some of the signs and symptoms of both diseases include muscle weakness, muscle spasms, problems walking, fatigue, slurred speech, and problems swallowing. ALS signs and symptoms that are different from MS include problems holding the head upright, clumsiness, muscle cramps and twitches, problems holding objects, and uncontrollable periods of laughing or crying. MS signs and symptoms that are different from ALS include vision problems, vertigo and balance problems, sexual problems, memory problems, depression, mood swings, and digestive problems. There is no cure for either disease, however the prognosis and life expectancy are different. Multiple sclerosis is not a fatal condition, while ALS progresses rapidly and leads to death.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Symptoms and Treatments
Multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms vary from person to person and can last for days to months without periods of remission. Symptoms of MS include sexual problems and problems with the bowel, bladder, eyes, muscles, speech, swallowing, brain, and nervous system. The early symptoms and signs of multiple sclerosis usually start between ages 20-40. MS in children, teens, and those over age 40 is rare. Treatment options for multiple sclerosis vary depending on the type and severity of symptoms. Medications may be prescribed to manage MS symptoms.
Is Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Contagious?
Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is a degenerative disease of the covering around the nerves in the central nervous system (CNS). Researchers and doctors don't know the exact cause, but many theorize that it may be due to environmental triggers, an autoimmune disease, and viruses (infections). Symptoms and signs of MS include vision changes, paralysis, vertigo, heat intolerance, slurred speech, sexual dysfunction, and urinary incontinence (the inability to urinate). There's no vaccine or cure for MS, but the progression and symptoms of the disease can be treated.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Early Warning Signs and Types
Multiple sclerosis (MS) can be thought of as an immune-mediated inflammatory process involving different areas of the central nervous system (CNS) at various points in time. Early warning signs and symptoms of MS in children, teens, and adults are similar; however, children and teens with pediatric also may have seizures and a complete lack of energy. Adults with MS do not have these signs and symptoms. Other signs and symptoms of MS include inflammation of the optic nerve (optic neuritis), changes in vision, Wiping or having tissues around the eye and moving the eye may be painful, and double vision. There are four types of MS, relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), secondary progressive MS (SPMS), primary progressive MS (PPMS), and progressive relapsing MD (PRMS).
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Pregnancy
Multiple sclerosis or MS is a central nervous system disease in which the immune system attacks the myelin sheath (the protective coating around nerves). Symptoms of MS include pain, sexual problems, fatigue, numbness and tingling, emotional changes, and depression.Women who are pregnant and have multiple sclerosis may have more difficulty carrying a pregnancy. Multiple sclerosis does not affect ability to conceive, and does not seem to affect fertility. MS symptoms during pregnancy may stay the same or get better; however, they may worsen after giving birth. Pregnancy decreases the number of relapses, but flares increase in the first 3-6 months after delivery. Pregnant women with MS may carrying a pregnancy more difficult to tell when labor starts, and there is an increased need to use forceps or vacuum to assist with delivery or b7 C-section (Cesarean birth) increases. Some treatment MS drugs may be safe to use during pregnancy; however, some drugs should not be taken, for example, baclofen (Gablofen, Lioresal), fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem), or solifenacin succinate (VESIcare), and most disease-modifying therapies (DMTs). Talk with your healthcare team about vitamins, supplements, and medications that you are taking if you are pregnant and have MS.
Alternative Treatment (CAM) for MS
The term alternative therapy, in general, is used to describe any medical treatment or intervention that has not been scientifically documented or identified as safe or effective for a specific condition. Alternative therapy encompasses a variety of disciplines that range from diet and exercise to mental conditioning to lifestyle changes.
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