Copaxone

Copaxone Medication Information:

Copaxone medication comes in several different strengths; click on the strength you need to view prices from pharmacies competing to earn your business.

Copaxone 20 mg/mL
Copaxone 40 mg/mL

About Copaxone

What Copaxone is used for

COPAXONE (glatiramer acetate injection) 20 mg/1 mL pre-filled glass syringe is used to treat patients with Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis, or patients who have experienced one episode of neurological symptoms likely to be a first sign of multiple sclerosis.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is thought to be an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in small areas of the central nervous system (brain or spinal cord). Autoimmune means the body’s immune system attacks its own cells. This inflammation causes damage to the myelin that covers the nerve fibers and ensures they work properly. The loss of myelin (or demyelization) eventually leads to neurological symptoms. In the Relapsing Remitting form of MS, symptomatic flare-ups (called relapses) are followed by periods when the symptoms go away completely or partly (called remissions).

Although it is not a cure, patients treated with COPAXONE experience fewer relapses.

What Copaxone does

COPAXONE is a mixture of peptides (or small proteins) that resemble a protein in myelin. COPAXONE is thought to work by modifying the immune processes that are believed to cause MS.

When Copaxone should not be used

Do NOT take COPAXONE if you had an allergic reaction to glatiramer or mannitol.

What the medicinal ingredient is

Glatiramer acetate.

What the important nonmedicinal ingredients for Copaxone are

40 mg mannitol in sterile water for injection.

What dosage forms Copaxone comes in

Single-use 20 mg/1 mL pre-filled syringe containing a sterile solution equivalent with the COPAXONE reconstituted solution.


Warnings and Precautions

Before you begin using COPAXONE, make sure you understand all the information provided about its possible benefits and risks. If you do not understand any of the information provided in this section, contact your doctor for further clarification. You may also contact Shared Solutions by calling 1-800-283-0034 or at www.sharedsolutions.ca and info@sharedsolutions.ca.

  • COPAXONE is not recommended for use in pregnancy. Therefore, inform your physician if you are pregnant, if you are planning to have a child, or if you become pregnant while you are using this medication.

  • Inform your physician if you are nursing.

  • Do not change the dose or dosing schedule without consulting your physician.

  • Do not stop using the drug without consulting your physician.

Post-Injection Reaction

Some patients have reported a transient, self limited reaction immediately after injecting COPAXONE (Post Injection Reaction, see Side Effects and What to Do About Them:).


Interactions with Copaxone

You should tell your doctor if you are taking any other prescription or non-prescription medicines. This includes any vitamin or mineral supplements, or herbal products.


Proper Use of Copaxone

The first time you use COPAXONE you will be given full instructions and should be supervised by a doctor or nurse.

Instructions for the preparation and injection of COPAXONE pre-filled syringe

(See package insert for illustrations.)

Step 1: Gathering the materials

First, assemble one of each of the items you will need on a clean, flat surface in a well-lit area.

  • One blister with COPAXONE pre-filled syringe{*Remove only one blister with pre-filled syringe at a time from the COPAXONE pre-filled syringe package. Keep all unused syringes in the refrigerator.}

  • Alcohol prep (wipe).

  • Dry cotton ball (not supplied).

To ensure that the solution has warmed up to room temperature, allow the unopened blister containing the syringe to stand at room temperature for at least 20 minutes.

Prior to injection, to prevent infection, wash and dry your hands. Do not touch your hair or skin, unnecessarily, after washing your hands.

There may be small air bubbles in the syringe. To avoid loss of medicine when using COPAXONE pre-filled syringes, do not expel (or do not attempt to expel) the air bubble from the syringe before injecting the medicine.

Step 2: Choosing the site for injection

  • There are seven possible areas on your body for injection: back of the upper arms (2 areas), front and outside of thighs (2 areas), upper buttocks/rear hips (2 areas) and stomach (abdomen).

  • Each day of the week you should pick one of the seven areas, and from within that area, pick an injection site. Pick each injection area only once per week.

  • Within each of the seven injection areas there are multiple injection sites. Rotate the injection sites within an area. Choose a different injection site each time. Please note: do not inject in any area that is painful or discoloured or where you feel firm knots or lumps.

  • It is recommended to have a planned rotating injection site schedule and to note it in a daily planner.

  • There are some areas on your body that may be difficult for self-injection (like the back of the arm), and you may require assistance.

  • Do not inject sites where skin depression has occurred because further injections in these sites may make the depression deeper.

ArmsAdminister the injection in the upper back portion of the arm. StomachAdminister the injection leaving 5 cm (2”) around the navel.
ButtocksAdminister the injection in the upper outer rear quadrant. ThighsAdminister the injection in the front and outer part of the thigh, 5 cm (2”) above the knee and 5 cm (2”) below the groin.

Step 3: Injection

  1. Remove the syringe from its protective blister by peeling back the paper label. Place the syringe on a clean, flat surface.

  2. Choose an injection site on your body. Clean the injection site with a fresh alcohol prep and let it air dry for 60 seconds to reduce any stinging.

  3. Using the hand you write with, pick up the syringe as you would a pencil. Remove the needle cap from the needle.

  4. With your other hand, pinch about a 5 centimeter (2 inch) fold of skin between your thumb and index finger.

  5. Insert the needle at a perpendicular angle (90°), resting the heel of your hand against your body. When the needle is all the way in release the fold of skin.

  6. To inject the medication, hold the syringe steady and push down on the plunger. The injection should take just a few seconds.

  7. Pull the needle straight out.

  8. Press a dry cotton ball on the injection site for few seconds.

  9. Discard the syringe and the needle cap in a safe hard-walled plastic container.

  10. Make sure that the rest of the unused syringes are kept in the refrigerator.

How do I reach the upper back portions of my arms?

For these two injection areas, it is not possible to pinch 5 centimeters (2 inches) of skin with one hand and inject yourself with the other hand. Ask your nurse for instructions on how to use these areas.

  • If you experience dizziness, skin eruptions with irritation, sweating, chest pain, difficulty in breathing, or other uncomfortable changes in your general health, call your physician immediately. Make no more injections until the physician tells you to begin again.

  • If symptoms become severe, call the appropriate emergency phone number in your area. Make no more injections until the physician tells you to begin again. Be sure to inform your physician about any side effects.

Proper use of used pre-filled syringes

Each pre-filled syringe should be used for only one injection. Discard all used pre-filled syringes in a hard-walled plastic container, such as a liquid laundry detergent bottle. Keep the cover of this container closed tight and out of the reach of children. When the container is full, check with your physician, pharmacist or nurse about proper disposal, as local laws may vary.


Side Effects for Copaxone and What to Do About Them

The most commonly observed adverse reactions associated with the use of COPAXONE are redness, pain, inflammation, itching, or a lump at the site of injection. These reactions are usually mild and seldom require professional treatment. A permanent depression under the skin at the injection site may also occur, due to a destruction of fat tissue at that site.

Some patients have reported a transient, self limited reaction immediately after injecting COPAXONE (Post-Injection Reaction). Symptoms associated with this reaction could include flushing, chest pain/chest tightness, heart palpitations, anxiety, difficulty in breathing, constriction of the throat and urticaria. These symptoms occurred rarely, generally appeared within minutes of an injection, lasted approximately 15 minutes, and resolved without further problems. These symptoms may occur at the beginning of treatment or several months after you started treatment with COPAXONE. You may also experience these symptoms in more than one occasion.

After you inject COPAXONE, if you experience hives, skin eruption with irritation, dizziness, sweating, chest pain, difficulty in breathing, severe pain at the injection site or other uncomfortable changes in your general health, call your physician immediately. Discontinue your injections until your physician tells you to begin again.

If symptoms become severe, call the appropriate emergency phone number in your area. Discontinue your injections until your physician tells you to begin again. Be sure to inform your physician about any side effects.

This is not a complete list of side effects. For any unexpected effects while taking COPAXONE, contact your doctor or pharmacist.


 

Technical Information