1. Health
Send to a Friend via Email

Is Copaxone Right for You? (continued)

By

Updated July 21, 2009

History: Copaxone has been available since 1996.

Storage: As of June 2007, Copaxone can be stored up to 30 days unrefrigerated (which is a change to the former storage requirements of no more than 7 days at room temperature). Always examine syringes before using and do not use if the solution looks cloudy.

Ease of Use: Copaxone comes in prefilled syringes, not requiring mixing or assembly. They should be allowed to come to room temperature (unrefrigerated for 20 to 30 minutes) before injecting.

Contraindications: Copaxone is contraindicated in patients with known hypersensitivity to glatiramer acetate or mannitol (a sugar alcohol). There are no known interactions with other medications.

Pregnancy: Copaxone is Category B, meaning it did not cause harm to fetuses in animal studies, but no adequate human studies have been done.

Breastfeeding: Of all of the MS disease-modifying drugs, Copaxone is probably the safest to use during breastfeeding. While there is no published data, any Copaxone in breastmilk is probably destroyed in the infant's gastrointestinal tract and not absorbed, except perhaps in neonates. In a survey of 147 women neurologists in the United States and Canada, 13% stated that they discourage breastfeeding with Copaxone, 48% stated that they leave the decision on breastfeeding while on Copaxone up to the patient and about 10% said they would prescribe Copaxone to a breastfeeding mother. This is a decision to discuss with your neurologist, obstetrician and pediatrician.

Cost: Copaxone costs between 23,000 and 34,000 dollars a year. (Check exact prices at DestinationRx.com). Copaxone is covered by most medical insurance carriers. The patient support program, Shared Solutions, can help you determine if your insurance plan covers Copaxone. The website states: If you do not have insurance or if you need help paying for Copaxone, Shared Solutions can refer you to other financial assistance programs. To speak with someone at Shared Solutions, call 1-800-887-8100.Your doctor's office or the local chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society should also be able to assist you in determining financial options for affording treatment. More Information: Copaxone is made by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. For more information, visit the Copaxone website, or call Shared Solutions at 1-800-887-8100.

Sources:

Johnson KP, Brooks BR, Cohen JA, et al. Copolymer 1 reduces relapse rate and improves disability in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis: results of a phase III multicenter, double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Neurology 1995;45:1268-1276.

Comi G, Filippi M, Wolinsky JS. European/Canadian multicenter, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study of the effects of glatiramer acetate on magnetic resonance imaging-measured disease activity and burden in patients with relapsing multiple sclerosis. European/Canadian Glatiramer Acetate Study Group. Ann Neurol 2001;49:290-297

Wolinsky JS, Comi G, Filippi M, Ladkani D, Kadosh S, Shifroni G. Copaxone's effect on MRI-monitored disease in relapsing MS is reproducible and sustained. Neurology 2002; 59:1284-1286

Ford CC, Johnson KP, Lisak RP, et al. Mult Scler. 2006;12:1-12.

Coyle PK, Christie S, Fodor P et al. Women Neurologists MS Initiative. Multiple sclerosis gender issues: clinical practices of women neurologists. Mult Scler. 2004;10:582-8.

  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Multiple Sclerosis
  4. Treatments
  5. Copaxone - MS Treatment - Side Effects, Cost, Effectiveness of Copaxone

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.