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Julie  Stachowiak, Ph.D.

Does Copaxone cause diarrhea?

By April 30, 2013

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It's time for another informal survey. I was interested to run across a forum where people were discussing diarrhea as a side effect of Copaxone.

I have been on Copaxone for over seven years and can say that diarrhea was never one of my side effects. In one report of adverse events from the FDA, in 9,277 patients taking Copaxone, 115 report diarrhea. This equals 1.24%

Because diarrhea can be a symptom of MS, one theory might be that it is just the MS causing the diarrhea. However, in the study mentioned above, all cases of diarrhea resolved when people stopped using Copaxone.

I'd like to hear from you. Does anyone out there notice a correlation with Copaxone and diarrhea? Does the diarrhea come on quickly following the injection? Have you found any way to make this better? Don't be shy - tell us what is happening. You could help someone out there who needs to know they are not alone with this crazy disease.

May 1, 2013 at 10:43 am
(1) Michelle says:

I’ve been on Copaxone for 10 years, I’ve never suffered any side effects, certainly not diarreah. I will be diagnosed 16 years next week. I was originally put on Avonex, which made my life misearable with side effects, flu like symptoms that lasted for days. Worse of all, it did not work and my MS kept progressing.

I’ve never heard of this side effect related to Copaxone, and I have many friends also taking Copaxone. Although, the new oral medications come with a numerous side effects including serious GI problems. That’s what has kept me from switching. I’m tolerating Copaxone, I’ve had no progression, since I experience no side effects, I’m able to live my life with my therapy, not working my life around my therapy. I guess my motto is, if it’s not broke don’t fix it.

I would suggest you contact the nurses at Shared Solutions 1-800-881-8700, they were my lifeline when I initially started therapy. They have great informaton on everything Copaxone, and you know the information is credible, since they are MS certified nurses on the phone.
The most important thing, is that you find a therapy that you tolerate well, works for you and stick to it!!

May 1, 2013 at 8:42 pm
(2) Louis says:

I was diagnosed last summer and started using Copaxone due to less side effects in the documentation I read. The daily injection is now part of my daily routine and only takes a few minutes.

No diarrhea for me. Some minor side effects that I can tolerate and they no longer bother me much. I did have severe pain with the injections in my thighs but the nurses at Shared Solutions were great to help through this. Hardly any pain now.

I really appreciate your column and your sharing of your personal experiences, those of others and various testimonies

Thank you

May 4, 2013 at 10:05 am
(3) Lisa says:

I not sure if it is Copaxone or not but I too have diarrhea.What I did notice with all the changes in my body,I now CANT eat WHEAT. I changed my self to a gluten free diet. What a change. It HELPED !When I stick to this diet I dont have to plan my life around how far from the potty I am. Just something to try or at least think about. :)

May 5, 2013 at 12:44 am
(4) Kimberly says:

It doesn’t as long as you have enough of the good bacteria in your stomach. In the case that you don’t, eating some organic yoghurt helps.

May 7, 2013 at 9:06 pm
(5) vicki says:

I was diagnosed april 1st of this yr, my dr prescribed copaxone for me, so far I really haven’t noticed any side affects . the only thing is tha burning from the medicine . but I love shared solutions they have been really great

May 8, 2013 at 11:02 am
(6) CJP says:

Nope never have had that issue. Been on Copaxone for almost 10 years.

May 8, 2013 at 11:07 am
(7) George S. says:

Been on Copaxone 2 years – no problems at all.

May 8, 2013 at 11:14 am
(8) dany says:

So far i don’t have any problem with Co-paxone. Everything is working well with me. To say there is a link between Co-paxone and Diehra seems to me not to be correct.

May 8, 2013 at 11:29 am
(9) Judith says:

This is interesting to me because I have been going through several tests to figure out why I have been suffering from chronic diarrhea for the last several months. I have been taking copaxone since I was diagnosed in August of 2010, but never had this symptom until it started this past fall. For that reason, I have never thought that copaxone was the cause. I also never knew that diarrhea could be side effect of MS. But honestly, what is there that hasn’t been found to be a possible side effect of MS? (I find this so frustrating!)
Anyway, I would love to know more about this issue since so far, the docs have not been able to figure out what is causing this problem for me.
Thanks for your great blogs!!

May 8, 2013 at 11:30 am
(10) Bbabbaloo says:

Been on Copaxone 5+ years. Have opposite problem – severe constipation…. But occasionally I need to “go” without warning and have to dash to the toilet.

May 8, 2013 at 12:00 pm
(11) imdhreeves says:

Diarrhea was never an issue for me while I was on Copaxone.
Chronic diarrhea these days often follows antibiotic therapy if normal bacteria in the bowel are killed by antibiotics. Getting back normal bacteria can be difficult. It might even necessitate a stool transplant. Shocking but it does save lives when other treatments don’t work.

May 8, 2013 at 12:34 pm
(12) Karin says:

It did not cause me any GI problems, but gave me a hell of a rash, had to stop Copaxone after five weeks.

May 8, 2013 at 12:59 pm
(13) oSandi says:

I started on Copaxone in July of 2000. I have never, ever had Diarrhea thus far.

May 8, 2013 at 2:43 pm
(14) Velma Conklin says:

i have anywhere from severe diarrhea to severe constipation. it is kind of a cycle with me. i have always figured it was the MS so haven’t even mentioned it to my dr. really don’t think it is the copaxone because it only lasts 1 to 1 1/2 days and then slowly turns into constipation and then slowly back to diarrhea. weird huh? but then that’s always been my life with weird symptoms. too them 25 years to diagnose me and give me an answer to why i was having all those odd things that were gone by the time i could get in to see my doctor.

May 8, 2013 at 8:56 pm
(15) Annemaree says:

Been on copaxone almost 6 years. Hasn’t caused tummy upsets. Need to have yoghurt & fruit daily though.

May 8, 2013 at 9:52 pm
(16) Kiki says:

I love this medicine. Had not the best of luck with Avonex debilitating flu symptoms and severe lethargy. Now a few bumps on occasion but mostly nothing at all from Copaxone. It took a couple months for the itching to stop and the huge golf ball welts but now wonderful! It’s worth the time and effort. I do not experience any pain or buring with injection as I take after a warm morning shower. No I’ve ever needed ice and frankly the small amount of dimpling I do see on thighs sure beats not walking or MS progression sticking around …but of course none of us really know if that’s the Meds or our course of disease progress. Peace to All. DO WHAT MAKES YOUR WORLD BETTER ;)

May 9, 2013 at 2:59 pm
(17) Cindy Murphy says:

I have been on Copaxone for 11 years and never had Diarrhea.

May 9, 2013 at 3:20 pm
(18) Gill says:

It’s my 1 year anniversary on Copaxone tomorrow, and was diagnosed in 2007. I’ve not had diarrhoea, rather the opposite. If it gets to 3 days or more when I’ve not been able to go I feel very bunged up and uncomfortable. At the moment I’m able to go daily, but have never suffered with diarrhoea because of the drug

May 9, 2013 at 10:46 pm
(19) Pam says:

I’ve been on Copaxone since 2007. No side effects for me!

May 22, 2013 at 12:45 pm
(20) jensequitur says:

I have had both diarrhea and constipation, but it was because of MS, not from Copaxone.

However, I blame Copaxone for my acquired angioedema. It’s triggered by a tiny injury, like a mosquito bite or simply just biting my tongue. It’s only ever happened in the tongue, lips, and hand. I swell until the area is completely swollen, red and painful. Then it will subside over a day or so. The entire process, from injury to swelling to complete swelling, back to normal, takes about 48 hours. Having your lips swell is bad enough, but when your tongue swells, it’s difficult to talk.

My doctors don’t know what caused it, but I know that I never had it before Copaxone. I had to discontinue it because the immediate post-injection reaction kept happening, until it started to resemble an allergic attack.

May 23, 2013 at 12:29 am
(21) Mike Hertz says:

I agree with jensequitur , though i think if you’re unsure whether it’s Copaxone that causes the problem, you should talk to your doctor first.

May 28, 2013 at 4:38 pm
(22) summer says:

I’ve only been on it for a little over a year and no problems for me.

July 14, 2013 at 1:55 pm
(23) J. Hodgins says:

I’ve been on copaxone for the last 7 months which started out great but for the last 3 months I can’t leave home simply because I don’t get a warning of when I am going to have a bowl movement. I’ve never had this issue before and always could be out and about. I am beginning to wonder as well about loose bowl movements being caused by copaxone. I want my life back. I can deal with the urination issues caused from MS plus most everything else but this one is the sh*ts……so to speak.

August 12, 2013 at 11:01 pm
(24) Kathy says:

Been on copaxone for about 6 months now and have found that I go back and forth with diarrhea and constipation, At first I wasn’t sure if it was the disease or the drug, but the WONDERFUL FOLKS at Shared Soluttions reassured me. So I figured it must be just my diet at the time and stressing out over giving self shots every day, Things are okay for now and I finaly go n to see my doctor and will discuss this with him Yep, the sudden need to urinate is tiresome,

Good Luck everyone, Thanks for being out there. No one at work understands what I am going thr and I work in the healthcare field,

November 12, 2013 at 9:54 am
(25) Christy says:

Yes, I have severe diarrhea directly correlated w/ my use of Copaxone. The Shared Solutions telephone nurse attempted to dimiss it when I explained my situation. My issues w/ diarrhea became so that I could hardly eat anything without spending hours in the bathroom. It came on after I began using Copaxone. I went off of Copaxone when I became pregnant and during a year of nursing. During that time, I had no difficulties w/ diarrhea. When I resumed the Copaxone, the diarrhea came back immediately within the 1st month. There is no other explanation for the cause of my diarrhea.

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