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Julie  Stachowiak, Ph.D.

Hives and Scabs After Copaxone Injection?

By July 12, 2011

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Just recently, I ran into a "situation" after giving myself an injection of Copaxone, which I have been taking now for about 5 years. It was scary, but I think I am past the worst of it.

Once again I am turning to you, my readers and fellow people with multiple sclerosis (MS) to answer questions that have come up in my own experiences with this disease that I cannot answer by looking in the medical literature or talking to "experts." I figure if it has happened to me, it has happened to some of you. I also figure that if I am frustrated by the lack of information out there, then gathering our voices together can only help one another.

Here is what happened:

When I gave myself the injection in my left hip, it felt odd. Not extremely painful, just "hot" going in. It actually bled a little (more than a drop) when I withdrew the needle. The warm feeling seemed to intensify, and the site began to itch.

When I positioned myself to look at the area in a mirror, I was a little shocked to see what looked like a huge, splotchy bruise across the site - measuring about 6 inches across - accompanied by tiny hive-like bumps.

I tried to distract myself for about 30 minutes. When I looked at it again, the bruise-like discoloration was gone, and the small bumps seemed to have joined into a gigantic hive. I had a big glass of wine and went to bed. The next morning, it looked fairly normal, but was just sensitive.

Three days later, the bruise was back. Two days after that, a patch of skin about 1.5 inches in diameter peeled off. To make a long story short(er), I have kept the area covered with a dressing and antibiotic ointment, and it seems to be shrinking (but healing much more slowly than a normal scrape or cut would).

Shared Solutions told me to monitor the area. I am out of town, so cannot visit my neurologist. I am trying to research this - I have been searching under "injection site skin necrosis," although I am not sure that is an accurate description - but have found that it is considered "extremely rare" (like many things that we all seem to experience) and there is little in the medical literature about it. I am hoping that some of you can fill in the blanks.

Has this ever happened to you? What did you do? What did your doctor say? How long did it take to heal? Did it ever happen again? Please leave your story or any information that you may have in the comments section below. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

July 12, 2011 at 10:35 pm
(1) Candy says:

I regularly have the same type of giant hive you describe, typically on the injection sites on my arms and legs, but it has never progressed to the point yours has – no bruising or peeling skin. The big, hot hive is rather disconcerting, so I try not to look at it and it is always gone by morning. I’m sorry I couldn’t be more help!

July 13, 2011 at 2:25 am
(2) Daniel K says:

I’ve only once ever had the “huge, splotchy bruise” you describe in my 5 years of injecting with Copaxone. Funnily enough it occurred after reading one of your articles about “heart attack” reactions. Mine was in the stomach area. Like with Candy, it didn’t result in scabs or skin issues and was gone within hours. No idea why it happened or why it hasn’t happened again – yet.

July 13, 2011 at 10:51 am
(3) Jeff says:

This kinda happened to me one time, minus the skin peeling. I injected my stomach and I guess I hit something. A raised area about 1/8th of an inch covered my stomach and chest. I blamed on a reaction to another med I was taking at the time. I had bad reactions period while taking Neurotin. Haven’t had one since. Always check your other meds, I had no idea.

July 13, 2011 at 11:44 am
(4) Robin Moore says:

You might try premedicating with Benadryl. That perhaps might prevent the hive. I would also wonder about possible impurities in the medication. Docs definitely need to know.

July 13, 2011 at 11:55 am
(5) hme says:

I was injecting with rebif 3 times a week and after a month got so sick for days that I stopped. I am considering copaxone now so am looking into it. Is the only reason for taking copaxone to expand the length of time between relapses? Since you have been injecting for 5 yrs, hopefully your experience is a one time thing. My doctor said I might get a lump at the site with copaxone.

July 13, 2011 at 9:26 pm
(6) Velma Conklin says:

I absolutely love Copaxone. I have never taking any other MS drug so don’t have anything to compair it with but have a friend with very advanced MS and she has tried everything there is. She liked Copaxone the best too. So, give it a try, I think you will like it because side effects really are rare and very few are drastic.

July 14, 2011 at 1:42 am
(7) Ree* says:

@hme–I have MS now for 22 yrs. I began w/ R/R & was able to work for 8+1/2 yrs as an OR nurse (RN), until I became SPMS. I began w/ Betaseron (one of the first who had it back then) and built up antibodies against it, had many reactions so my doc put me on Copaxone. I also had the red welts, itching & bruising. But no peeling or need to put on antibiotic ointment, as it was all under the skin. A bit of cortison cream rubbed in, helped immensely. They went away after a few days………. Then after a number of yrs, I went away in Chicago for a Bone Marrow Transplant, Stem Cell replacement & hi dose chemo to halt progression. They took me off Copaxone—I also had TBI-Total Body Irradiation. Now for the last 9 yrs, I have no further lesions on my brain. However, I did become a little worse, as fraying of nerve endings do not show on MRI. I can walk a little w/ my walker, but use a scooter for outside activities & a Jazzy for home. My neuro doc put me back on Copaxone, saying it will further help delay progression & help the immune system. In SPMS there are no attacks, just slow progression. This time around, no reactions at all from Copaxone!! So don’t be afraid to try it, just be aware of these reactions & tell your doc as soon as u get any. And Good Luck!!

July 14, 2011 at 1:46 am
(8) Ree* says:

Oh I forgot to say I meant no local red welt reactions from the Copaxone. I did get a sore throat that felt puffy. I never heard of this, but went to the TEVA website & Drugs.com & it is a definite side effect. It wasn’t profound enough to go to the doc, I will tell him when I see him next. Lasted like 2-3 days & wasn’t bad at all…….Thanks for listening……Ree*

July 13, 2011 at 11:55 am
(9) Patricia says:

I only took Copaxone for 3 months (long story) but I got that hive thing on almost every shot starting about 10 days in. I would get a stinging/burning sensation, then a bunch of tiny little bumps that developed into one huge hive usually 3-4 inches around. It would stay there for 5-7 days in a hive form, and the redness would last a few days longer. It was frequently bruised and tender. I never got the blistering though. Shared Solutions told me the hives was normal and it would get better. I do feel like the doctors and even Shared Solutions don’t prepare us for the side effects. I was told I would get a little bit of redness at the injection site. I had been on Avonex for 2 years so was expecting the small red dot I got with the Avonex, not the huge hives I actually got. I had a similar thing happen with Avonex. I was expecting flu like symptoms to be more like what you got after the flu shot and not what I actually got. Doctors really down play the side effects. I think it is so they don’t scare us, but it actually scares us more when the side effects are more severe than they prepare us for.

July 13, 2011 at 11:56 am
(10) faye says:

Hi!! Well i used copaxone for 2 or 3 years, and always bruised- i assumed it just was part of it! humm so your not suppose to bruise? am on gilenya now- but im still bruised?

July 13, 2011 at 11:57 am
(11) Daniel Glines says:

14 days ago after injecting my stomach, I had a bruise, redness, and soreness occur. There was some bleeding after the injection, more than normal, what surprised me was how long the situation lasted. It’s still sore and red, but decreasing. I stopped using this area, only taking a shot in that area of my body yesterday. I’ve been on copaxone for 4 years.

July 13, 2011 at 12:33 pm
(12) Kimberly says:

I’ve been on Copaxone almost 10 years with the exception of being on Betaseron for 3 months that just about put me in liver failure. I TOLD my doctor my liver couldn’t handle it. I guess she needed me to show her that to believe it. As for having any skin reactions with my Copaxone injections, all I have ever experienced is a little red spot with some intense itching that goes away within the hour. Occasionally there is a “normal” looking bruise. I am an insulin dependent diabetic so I take 3 – 5 injections daily including my Copaxone. I am thankful for Copaxone as none of the other injectable MS meds will work for me. Hopefully you won’t have anymore of those hive reactions.

July 13, 2011 at 12:44 pm
(13) Marilyn says:

I had a gigantic hive in left hip, also, but no skin issues. Could see the blood vessels purpling and spreading under the skin. The Shared Solutions (Copaxone) nurse told me that as long as the reaction was local and didn’t spread to other parts of the body, it was okay; ie, not a systemic allergic reaction. If all over, go to ER. She also said it should not be larger than your outspread hand.

When I asked why this happened, she laughed and said, “Oh, your body just didn’t like this particular shot!”- very annoying and condescending answer…. I don’t think they know the cause.

July 13, 2011 at 1:05 pm
(14) Karen says:

This is a typical IPIR… I had two in the 3 months period I was using Copaxone. I also had Heart palpitation, shortness of breath and worst – feeling as if my Head, shoulders and back were on fire – I was burning and looked as flushed as Elmo… Eventually, I was shivering and shaking… It was bad… It lasted about an hour from start to end…
Also – every shot I gave myself, I got a huge, splotchy bruise across the site – no matter where I was injecting. I realize that I probably hit a vein, as I had blood on the needle as well – just one drop, but I guess that all it taked to get the IPIR…
First time was not as bad as the second time, but my doc, obviously, did not want to take any chances and I am off Copaxone…
Just started Betaseron and I hope this will go better…
This is an allergic reaction to Copaxone – sometimes you get just a few of the symptoms and sometimes – the entire package… I hope you will not experience that again, but don’t forget to tell you doctor (and shared solutions) about your experience… They monitor these reactions…

July 13, 2011 at 6:07 pm
(15) Jennifer says:

Actually, the regular IPIR is not an allergic reaction – it’s just a reaction to the medication. I’ve had six IPIRs. The sixth IPIR turned into an allergic reaction – the skin on my face and neck swelled, and I itched ALL over. I had to sit on my hands so I wouldn’t scratch myself. I took a couple of benadryl and waited.

July 13, 2011 at 1:05 pm
(16) widawn says:

I’ve had the hive reaction several times over the course of the last decade and I had decided it seemed to happen if I hit a vein when injecting as the injection also bled when it hived (like I was injecting it into the blood stream maybe vs the fat tissue) and last year I had one reaction that was like I injected acid into my leg, my entire thigh was burning and the skin was hot to touch, bright red and swollen all around the whole leg, lasted for hours and was sensitive for days – never pealed but when I told my neuro about it a month later at a regular appointment he said another patient had just had something similar and her’s caused skin necrosis and pealed, his thought was maybe a bad batch.

July 13, 2011 at 1:17 pm
(17) stacey says:

I have had the same experience.. no pealing or necrosing of skin.. but I had my arm look like it was twice the size and it was droopy like all the fluids in my skin just all drained down to the site injection.. it was horrific looking to me at least… red hot and just painful!!! I hit corpuscle occasionally also.. doesnt seem to be different when I do

July 13, 2011 at 1:13 pm
(18) Stacey says:

I get these huge hives EVERY SINGLE TIME I INJECT.. redness and itching… I had to really really adjust the depth to be barely under the skin.. not as bad now.. but still same reaction just not as huge or intense itching. These welts last like 4-5 days.. I have never had skin necrosis but I do have muscle necrosis you can tell under the skin on my thighs.. I dont do my thighs or arms anymore.. way to painful and welts are the worst.. I rotate between belly and hips.. and my neuro even suggested maybe going every other day since the sites stay so painful for so long… because honestly.. I was getting to where I didnt do the shots at all until the pain went away from the last round… I cant do Avonex.. made me seize.. and wont try the new one.. my insurance wont cover it anyway.. I just recently went back on Copaxone after being off it since 03.. back in the beginning when I first started Copaxone and was on it for a few years (all depends on if I have insurance or not) I never had ANY issues at all.. a little itchy at the site for a little while.. NOTHING ELSE>. EVER… I had wondered if they had changed something in the shot itself…?? oh well. blind faith I guess

July 13, 2011 at 1:14 pm
(19) Bob J says:

After around 5 yrs of Copaxone, I have never had that. Just the nightly red and itchy spot followed by a few days of tenderness at the injection site,

July 13, 2011 at 1:32 pm
(20) Carol says:

I had one very bad reaction on my stomach. The injection site left a scab and some skin breakdown. My neurologist was concerned and said if it happened again, we might look at another disease modifying medication. However, this incident has been a one time thing. Thank God!

July 13, 2011 at 1:32 pm
(21) Cindy says:

Thank you so much for your blog. I cannot say how much you have helped me over the last 4 years. You are amazing! I am so sorry to hear of your Copaxone event. I do get large hives upon injections in my legs injection sites. I have not had peeling but have had the hive last for up to 3 days. Every injection site itches every time and is tender. I carry benadryl spray in my purse to not go crazy with itching. On another note, do you systematically rotate your sites? My doctor has told me to skip my arms if it hurts too much there and just use the especially fatty spots, especially my stomach. I was wondering how important it is to not over do the stomach and hip areas.

July 13, 2011 at 11:17 pm
(22) Daniel K says:

I too never inject in my arms – and never even tried. Not enough fat and my nurse from day one said not to bother and instead find other areas. So I developed a web page that I use with a map of areas to inject elsewhere that I rotate through over a 45 day period which is way longer a period than TEVA suggests. As a consequence I have never experiences necrosis, and I can closely track where I inject. I’ve thought about making this available to others, but I’ve been too lazy to take it to that level, although my doctor thinks it a great tool.

July 13, 2011 at 1:44 pm
(23) Donna says:

Oh My Gosh. I so appreciate this column and allt he comments. Besides the bruising from each & every injection of Copaxone (have been on now for 2 years), then intense itching for 2 days…they rd marks they leave, I now refer to myself as “DOT”. HOWEVER, twice now, after an injection, I have had an unusual raction. The fiorst time, I just got very tired, went to bed and got VERY COLD. I could NOT stiop the INTENSE SHIVERING. Even my ins=ides felt like they were moving…mt teeth chattered, my arms and legs were moving uncontrollably. My husband put blankets on me & held my hand. He could not feel a pulse—but I could still respond to his talking with short “yes” or “no”…I said- if this doesn’t start subsiding n 5 mins, call 911. He wanted to call it right then & there…but it did start subsiding, so we waited until it was over. I just went to bed, and was normal in the morning. Well, it happened again just last week–although I got etremely HOT at first, went to lay down & started shivering again. It was not as extreme this time–only my chattering teeth & arms. But my husband siad after I was done shivering, the heat coming off my body was like a death ray–he could not stay in bed with me I was exuding such extreme heat. Next morning–nothing. (except the bruising and redness of course) Last Doctor visit, I said I wanted to wait a while to see how the MS pill was going–I have my 6 month visit in 2 weeks—I think I will be asking for the pill!!!!!! Those 2 episodes ere very frightening.

July 15, 2011 at 1:15 am
(24) Sylvia says:

Donna, I started having the exact same reaction after 2 1/2 years on Copaxone. It started happening once a month, then maybe two or three times a month and progressed to almost every other day. It got to the point that I was a nervous wreck just thinking about taking my injection and not knowing if it would happen again. I only got a small red spot at the injection site, but I immediately got so hot, I felt as if my face and lips were on fire -red and swollen and had difficullty breathing that lasted about 2-3 minutes and immediately followed by the shivering and too my husband could not put enough blankets on me to get me warm. This would last about 30 -45 minutes and then I would finally fall asleep. My doctor thought that maybe I got a bad batch so he had the drug rep replace my full months dosage with a new one with a different lot number. But it kept on happening, so he switched me to Rebif. I was on Rebif for about a year but it was aggrevating the injection sites that had developed skin necrosis from the Copaxon. He put me on Tysabri and I have now been on Tysabri for almost two years with no issues. It has helped me so much that I now have the stamina to take a 1 1/2 core building excersize class with kettle bells and weights and lots of strength building. I feel fortunate that I took the big step and agreed to go on Tysabri. It has made a great difference in my quality of life.

July 13, 2011 at 2:52 pm
(25) Diane says:

From time to time (usually in hip area but occasionally either leg), the hive thing happens. Have been on Copaxone 9 yrs. I always assumed a bit of the copaxone leaked out of the injection site & the caustic copaxone caused the hives. Sometimes the hive welt can last a couple of days & turns into a bruse before going away. Haven’t had any skin peeling.

July 13, 2011 at 3:16 pm
(26) Ricardo says:

this never happened to me, only the normal side effects!!! Get better!!!

July 13, 2011 at 3:22 pm
(27) KHolmes says:

I’ve been on Copaxone for 3 1/2 years and with every shot, I get the big red hive, itching and a knot that last a few days. I only bleed when I hit a vein and it also bruises worse than usual. I only inject my hips and thighs now and they stay blotchy…. I’m glad the intense burning doesn’t happen every time any longer but when it does – it sets me free! Thank you for your articles. I really enjoy them and it helps me not feel so alone with this strange/puzzling MS.

July 13, 2011 at 3:25 pm
(28) sharon mcchrystal says:

I’ve been told it’s because you hit a blood vessel so after starting to injecting you pull back fluid and if no blood you’re good to go. Hard to do if you use an auto injector but I gave mine up and transfer to diabetic needles – - allot easier on the body.

July 13, 2011 at 7:57 pm
(29) Alesia D. says:

How do you transfer the copaxone into a diabetic needle?

July 13, 2011 at 4:18 pm
(30) Joseph Walker says:

I have notice the same thing after my injections. It itches very bad and the bump stays in the area for 2 to 3 days.

July 13, 2011 at 4:26 pm
(31) Tom says:

My wife was on Copaxone for 18 months, twice she had the iching and rash all over her body after an injection, only lasted about 1 hour but both times was pretty intense.

July 13, 2011 at 4:31 pm
(32) Gary says:

I have been on Copaxone for 16 months. The first three months I had severe reactions on my legs — itching, redness. They would appear approximately 20 hours after injection. I changed my schedule so that I shot in my legs on Thursday and Friday nights so that my reactions were over a weekend. It was very difficult for the first three months and wasn’t sure if I would be able to continue. I tried heat compresses before and ice after, but nothing helped.

It just stopped after three months. I continue to get soreness, redness and stinging for about 30 minutes. No relapses and good MRIs so it must be working (I guess).

I’m good about rotating. I do get lumps that last for several days. Sometimes I bruise. I use an auto-injector. I’ve tried various needle depths – can’t find anything that works better. Stopped the compresses and ice, neither makes a difference.

Currently I am having issues with ONLY my right arm (in the last two weeks). The injections are extremely painful and sting. The kind of sting that brings tears to your eyes. Thinking of skipping my right arm for while.

July 13, 2011 at 4:56 pm
(33) Katherine in Oregon says:

After taking Copaxone for about 3 years, I had not one, but two anaphylactic reactions to Copaxone. Both of those happened about 3 months apart.

After injecting myself (nothing unusual about the injection, like pain, swelling, redness, etc.), I my body broke out in hives all over my body. Both times, this happened right after the injection.

The first reaction was much worse than the second in intensity. The E.R. Doctor kept asking me if I was having difficulty breathing and I kept telling him “No”, but evidently I was and didn’t know it. At least, it was not severe enough for me to actually gasp for air.

Both times, I was taken into the E.R. (immediately) and given an injection of epinephrine, which stopped the hives and severe itching immediately. Thank Goodness!

After those two incidents, my Neurologist (and I) decided that I should stop the injections.

I am currently diagnosed as “Secondary Progressive” due to my length of time with M.S. I was diagnosed in 1995 and had years of R/R, but now I’m more in a “Silent” phase.

I doubt that I will “ever” know “why” I had those reactions. I didn’t eat anything different, or take the injections in any different manner, or have any reactions from the injection site.

Could it be that I hit a blood vessel (or capillary?) that caused this reaction? The medicine being injected right into my system instead of subQ?

July 13, 2011 at 5:01 pm
(34) Pam says:

I’ve been on Copaxone for 4 years. Typically, on my legs I get a small, swollen area that quickly disappears. (I put a band-aid on, so I don’t really know how long the spot takes to go down.) I have quit injecting into my arms (i.e., fat loss), and three days a week I inject into my stomach (i.e., nice, fat body part!). Twice in four years I have gotten a huge, purple bruise on my stomach that lasted about one week. The only strange thing I noticed was some stinging after the shot (not bad). I just thought I’d probably hit a blood vessel while injecting.

Thanks for all the good information, everyone!

July 13, 2011 at 6:12 pm
(35) Jennifer says:

Julie, that sounds like an allergic reaction to me.

I took Copaxone for 3 years, and ‘new areas’ that I hadn’t injected frequently would develop these large red hives. But I never had the multiple hives. However, when I injected badly, I would get an IPIR, and the injection site would turn into a bruise.

I had six IPIRs overall. The sixth one started out like all the others, and turned into an allergic reaction. My skin swelled on my head and neck, and I itched ALL over – I had to sit on my hands so I wouldn’t scratch myself. I discontinued taking Copaxone after that, and switched to Betaseron.

July 13, 2011 at 6:28 pm
(36) Jo Ann Hinkle says:

I had similar experiences with Avonex. When I was first diagnosed with MS in late 2009, I was told I had relapsing/remitting MS and was prescribed Avonex injections which I took once a week. Throughout the 8 mos. that I took the injections, I had outbreaks of hives, and itching, scabbing rash on my forearms, and upper chest. I called Biogen, the maker of Avonex and explained my symptoms. They seemed surprised by this and told me to use some cortisone cream. I felt like they blew me off and the cortisone cream didn’t help much. Later I was rediagnosed with primary progressive and taken off Avonex. The rash subsequently cleared up.

July 13, 2011 at 7:31 pm
(37) Pam says:

I have been using Copaxone for almost four years. I have had to adjust the injection depth to avoid different results; if I went too deep, I bruised and if I was too shallow, I got ‘mosquito bites’. For the first couple of years, I heated the area first and cooled it after. I think it helped the med. spread out faster and the cold soothed the sting. I also used Cortate almost every time immediately after to stop the incredible itching and welt that comes up. That doesn’t happen as often now, but I do get welts, usually on my stomach. No peeling though and certainly not a 6 inch bruise!

July 13, 2011 at 7:55 pm
(38) Momma D. says:

I am the mother of a 15 y.o who is on copaxone now 5 months. What i find very interesting after reading most of the posts regarding the extreme reactions is that , similar to the alcohol pads causing an issue, could there be an issue with the med itself? rapid laboratory production? Temperature stability with packaging and handling. What would be great is if everyone that is experiencing more extreme atypical reactions, would post when it occurred. Short of recording the batch/lot # of the copaxone vial. Might not be a bad idea to jot that information down moving forward …we all need to support each other and the pharmaceutical companies can not make any money if they identify issues with the med itself..and besides if it’s just a bad lot here or there, what good is it to them to report it? I am not trying to be an alarmist, we just all need to be smart and think logically. We are so widespread that without forums like this to bring us all together, issues like this can go un-noted..and hopefully harmless overall too. Just an aside, my daughter got significant relief using an ice pack for a good 10 minutes pre injection..less burning , stinging , and pain and site reaction. heat did not work at all. Be strong. Be Well. Be smart!

July 13, 2011 at 8:53 pm
(39) Tracey says:

I had a bad experience when I first started using Capaxone
3 months ago after every injection I would have
Big lumps and big purple bruises
But now I do not use the applicator I just use the syringe
And that way there’s No bruising

July 13, 2011 at 9:36 pm
(40) Velma says:

I have been on Copaxone for about 5-6 years now. I get big welts that get as big as my fist sometimes and sometimes smaller. I bleed quite a bit sometimes too and have huge red areas. they always itch to beat the band and each spot itches for 3 or 4 days so have several spots going at a time. My welts are like one big hive and I have to grit my teeth to keep from scratching. It is usually gone by morning though but still itches. Some of my shots cause no problem except for itching and those are usually the tummy ones. It is never the same though – as we all know. I didn’t realize this was something out of the ordinary cause it has always been this way. I figure it beats no meds at all. I am just thankful to be able to get financial help so I can be on meds. Julie, I sure hope you don’t have that again for a long time, if ever. :-)

July 13, 2011 at 11:26 pm
(41) peg says:

I have been on Avonex for 10 years and now being put on copaxone. I have not received the Copaxone yet BUT my nureo told me to call him if I had a reaction such as you have discribed at the injection site. He also said “It’s rare, don’t worry”. I would much rather be on the Avonex but nureo said I have 3 more lesions and that copaxone is “said to work better” Blessings peg

July 14, 2011 at 12:54 pm
(42) Karin G says:

I am on Copaxone now for three month after switching from Avonex, here I thought I did something wrong or hit a small vein. My reaction was not anything as serious as yours, it burned more and longer after my shot into my thigh and I developed a bruise and small pimple like eruptions around the injection site. Since I don’t have much fat on my thighs Shared Solutions told me to turn the injection depth down when injecting into my thigh. Hopefully it will not happen again, the bruise was visable for several days.

July 14, 2011 at 1:05 pm
(43) Diane says:

Reading all of the comments, posted so far, makes it sound like the copaxone detoxifies through the liver. Getting the liver to detoxify better can reduce the reactions to the copaxone. What I have found that helps the liver detoxify better and reduce my reactions to medications is to grind beets, carrots and kale and drink it. Beets are great for detoxifying the liver, carrots are high in antioxidants, which help to boost the immune system and kale is very high in B vitamins, calcium, magnesium and natural iron, which help to reduce fatigue, boost energy levels. It is better to grind these vegetables and drink them if you can, but if you can’t, you can chop up a large beet and cook it and eat it the day that you do the injection, as well as a few days out of the week to help boost how well your liver is removing the toxins from your body from taking medications. This is what I do and it helps me tremendously to reduce the side effects that I get from medications and doing this won’t cause drug interactions either. I hope this helps! :-)

July 14, 2011 at 7:25 pm
(44) Tracey Merrill says:

I have been on and off Copaxone quite a bit…I have have had some Horrible reactions while on this so I quit cold turkey..My reactions were horrible Lumps, Bumps, bruises and what my Neurologist called 2nd degree burns from the inside out…During the burn faze I couldn’t wear anything except a robe….
Since I ended my injections I have been feeling 100% better….I had a complete blood work up that showed everything my body was lacking…The major lack was Vit.D,,,Now I have been taking 6000 Mgs of Vit. D daily and laying in the sun,,,,I can’t tell you how much better I am now, and how the things that used to bother me don’t anymore…Heat and Humidity are a thing of the past with me….And I’ve been living with this Horrible Joke (MS) for almost 18 years now….

July 15, 2011 at 9:33 am
(45) kim kelly says:

I also had a giant purple painful bruise in my hip area. Was not a hive, but looked like a giant birthmark or something. I called shared solutions and they told me to call my neurologist. His nurse told me to go to my general practitioner. He diagnosed it as a Herpes infection before taking a swab of the area. He later called me and said that the culture was negative (duh) and he had never seen anything like it. I have a few stretch marks in the area, so I thought maybe I injected on top of one. Not thinking, I injected in the same area about a year later and had the same reaction. Not as severe, but the pain was so bad for about a week that I had to wear loose fitting clothing. It felt like my skin was severely burned. Now I just avoid that area. There is a permanant discoloration of the skin in that area. I sent a photo of the area to Shared Solutions and they said that they had never seen anything like that associated with the drug.

July 15, 2011 at 6:37 pm
(46) joanna says:

My daughter gives me my injections and yes this too has happen to me . Seeing this lets me know I am not alone. thank you

July 15, 2011 at 6:51 pm
(47) Joanna says:

My daughter gives me my injections and I’ve had this happen to me too. Good to know that I’m not the only one to experience this. I was told that this may happen in fresh spots or if you don’t go deep enough. I guess it’s about experimenting with the autoject settings again for these spots. We’ll see what happens.

Thank you everyone for sharing.

July 17, 2011 at 1:44 pm
(48) verity says:

I was getting expansive raised swollen hives – not just a small site area but it was quite large and quite raised.
I was told repeatedly that my hive reaction to Copaxone was normal by my Neurologist, and perhaps I was doing it wrong, etc. I worked closely with the therapeutic nurse and she said I was injecting correctly and in the right areas, rotating sites as instructed.
When I mentioned my concerns to the therapeutic nurse she told me that this was abnormal. I told my Neuro but she discounted what the nurse was saying.
I kept taking it.
I found the sites got more and more reactive. Yes I was going in the proper areas, etc.
I could not do my arms after awhile, could not do the zone on the legs. Then the last site that was least problematic was the stomach.
Then all of a sudden I was getting hives everywhere.
I had to go on Prednisolone and a schedule of antihistimines (because of upper and downer type side effects) taking ones that make you sleepy at night and the wake up ones during the day. It was absolutely awful.
I went to an immunologist and had ladder tests. He said I had developed an idiopathic allergic reaction from the Copaxone and to quit taking it immediately.
I had no fool allergies previously to taking Copaxone – just a hypersensitivity to sulfa drugs and MSG.
Now I am allergic to milk, cheese, eggs, oranges, tomatoes, tea, and shellfish.
The immunologist told me it would subside over time but -it has been over two years since I have taken Copaxone and I still am allergic to these substances – though not as extreme as before. Because my immune system was so reactive to Copaxone they do not want to put me on any other treatment so I am winging it without medications.

July 18, 2011 at 3:08 pm
(49) Kathie says:

I always appreciate your honest and forthcoming words in thes newsletters.
I can tell after being on Copaxone since 2004 I have had several of those same episodes.
From my own “investigation/theories” I have come up with…
1. Sometimes the needle depth needs to be reset.
2. A little of the injection fluid “oozed” out and my skin is sensative.
3. I need to taking my Vitamin C’s more regular (they do help w/bruising).
4. Maybe I hit a vein, have sensative skin and I need to up my Vitamin C’s. :-D
The one thing that I do know is that I am glad to know that I am not a lone ranger in this and thank God for cortizone creme.

July 22, 2011 at 9:53 pm
(50) Barb says:

I was on Avonex for 9 years, then 24 to 48 hrs. after injecting I was developing a rash only on my neck on my clavacal. My doc told me to stop for 1 month and start again, well after I started again, after the fourth injection of avonex I got the rash on the clavacal of my neck again but this time it was very red and hot to the touch, My Doc said I cannot take Avonex ever again,& wants me to try copaxone, I have not started it yet and not really sure if I want to. Avonex did me well for 9 years & once a week shot was not bad, I am not afraid of needles but welts and brusing stink especially every day. Now I do not know what I’m going to do. I keep praying I will make the right decision. Has anyone else gotten a sudden rash from Avonex after injecting for years?

July 24, 2011 at 11:54 am
(51) Donnamac says:

I use Copaxone. I have been ok’d by the doc to only inject the stomach area. (believe me…I have enough…). My routine is to heat the area first, do the injection, ice it and then I use LAVENDER ESSENTIAL OIL every single time. Lavender EO is the “queen mother” of all skin related issues. (My medicine cabinet is pretty much EO’s.)…This stops the welt, eliminates the pain, provides aromatherapy, and I don’t have injection site issues and I will say, it’s because of the Lavender Essential Oil. You don’t need a lot of it either…just tip the bottle upside down on your finger, or sprinkle a drop or two on the injection site area and rub it in…it may take 1, 2 or even 3 applications…but it works. I used it daily.

Wintergreen is good for muscle issues too. I used it on a muscle spasm last night, and it stopped it.

Peppermint is excellent for headaches and nausea too, which are side effects of Copaxone. Rub a DROP across the back of your neck, or on your tummy…it works.

Blessings all.

July 25, 2011 at 5:39 pm
(52) Elizabeth says:

I had the same reaction on my stomach about two months ago in May 2011. It looked and felt like a third degree burn moving from the inside out. The skin eventually (after a week or so) peeled and I now have a scar several inches around. My doc, the nurse who taught me to do the shots and Shared Solutions said they’d never seen/heard of such a reaction. I’ve only been on Copaxone a few months, but every shot I’ve taken — no matter if I use the Autoject or not — has resulted in a reaction of some sort. I feel like a mass of welts and knots. Fortunately, the burn has only happened once. I was told that every shot of Copaxone is different, so it is to be expected that one’s reaction to each shot might be different as well.

July 25, 2011 at 10:30 pm
(53) Olivia says:

Sometimes the injection site will itch, have little bumps and is red. I cover it with a cold cloth then apply hydrocortisone cream. Itching stops, redness and little bumps disappear.

August 12, 2011 at 2:22 pm
(54) Joy says:

I was diagnosed with RRMS about 3 months ago and needless to say, was terribly frightened about the disease…still am. I’m currently taking Capaxone and experience the hives(about 50%) of the time. I notice that when the depth setting is just right and I inject into a fatty area I don’t get the huge, hard, hive thing. I’m assuming that practice makes perfect, as far as the injection process goes. I’ve gotten the very dark purple bruise thing twice in the three months that I’ve been on Copaxone and thank God that’s it. I’m mainly on this site to thank everyone for their input and also guidance on how to help make all of our MS situation better. Being on this site helps me more than you know. THANKS EVERYONE!

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September 6, 2011 at 2:06 am
(57) Lindsey says:

I have been taking Copaxone for eight years and have always had the red, itchy lumpy welts. Once I had that unbelievable bad reaction where I was flushed, shaking and teeth chattering for a half hour, bent over; it was like I was having a stroke.

Last week I injected in my hip and got an unbelievably bad look black bruise, about three inches long and two inches wide, that is still there. I am afraid it is dying skin and am calling my dermatologist this week. My neuro seemed to think ti was just a bad bruise but it is not going away and I do not feel it when I stick a pin in it, so I am a bit worried about it.

January 20, 2012 at 1:25 pm
(58) Lynne says:

It sounds to me like you all should stop taking Copaxone and go to another therapy! How awful.

I started Copaxone and after 8 days I was itchy all over and developing hives. That was enough for me. Pain come to all of us, suffering is optional!

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February 18, 2013 at 9:37 am
(61) Beth says:

I am experiencing a similar issue. I have been injecting Rebif for 1 year now 3 times a week for my MS. I did a routine injection in my arm and noticed over the next week it became very irritated. It ended up black and the size of a quarter and very painful. I am using a prescribed antibiotic ointment still, but there is still much tenderness and pain in the area. My neurologist, though saying he had never seen this, did not seem overly concerned. I, on the other hand, am! It’s been 2 months and though its no longer black, it’s still there and painful.

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March 18, 2013 at 3:18 pm
(63) Cam says:

I JUST had the same thing happen to me 2 wks ago. over this past weekend, the wound turned a different color and I noticed it was “open” in some spots. thankfully I went to my reg. doc today and she said it was necrotic. UGH! Now I have to go see a surgeon to see if the wound needs debridement. It is right smack in the middle of my stomach, and now Im forced to wear lounge pants to work. I am praying the surgeon doesnt need to do anything. This has happened 2x before in the past 3-4 months. I plan on talkintg to my neurologist to see if I can switch meds. It was almost like a chemical burn. It starts underneath my skin, and then comes to the surface and scabs up. But this is the WORSE Ive ever endured. the last two times it has happened, have left little scars. But this time, its like 4″ x 4″ and Im afraid this might leave a major scar.

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