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Multiple Sclerosis Centers of Excellence


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How to Prescribe Glatiramer Acetate: Copaxone®

James Bowen, MD

Medical Director, Multiple Sclerosis Center

Swedish Neuroscience Institute

Seattle, WA



  • Slows the course of multiple sclerosis when used regularly over long periods of time.
  • Does not improve existing symptoms.
  • Is not used to treat acute MS attacks.

Generic name: Glatiramer acetate


How supplied: CopaxoneÒ comes in prepackaged kits containing all needed supplies. It comes in prefilled syringes containing 20mg/syringe. There are 30 syringes per pack.


Initial dose: Titration of the initial dose is not necessary.


Maintenance dose: 20 mg subcutaneously each day.


Sharps container: Sharps containers for needle disposal should be prescribed.


Autoinjector: Autoinjectors are available through the pharmacy.


Initial training: Initial training for patients is provided by the manufacturer (Teva Pharmaceuticals) through visiting nurse services. This may be arranged by contacting Shared Solutions® at 1-800-887-8100. Larger centers may perform their own training.


Laboratory testing: Not required.


Most common side effects:

  • Injection site reactions consist of inflammation and edema. Injection site reactions resolve over a few days. They often decrease with continued use. They may be minimized by assuring that the injections are deep enough in the subcutaneous tissues. Icing the injection site may help. Lidocaine creams known by brands names, such as EmlaÒ or ElamaxÒ, may decrease injection site pain as well as cutaneous reactions. Hydrocortisone cream may decrease the inflammation.
  • Systemic reaction: This reaction occurs in about 15% of patients. Those who experience this reaction usually have only one, or a few of them. The reaction occurs immediately after the injection and may include flushing, chest pain, palpitations, anxiety, shortness of breath, constriction of the throat, and urticaria. These reactions are self limited and do not require specific therapy. Reactions occur within minutes of the injection. Most resolve within 15-20 minutes. CopaxoneÒ may be continued without interruption in patients who have experienced this reaction.


Company Support:   Shared Solutions® - 1-800-887-8100, 



Last Updated: November 2009