Certain types of multiple sclerosis (MS) can be treated with Copaxone. Uses of the medication specifically include the treatment of relapsing-remitting MS, the most common pattern of the disease. Occasionally, the drug can also be used off-label for treating other forms of multiple sclerosis. At this time, there are no Copaxone uses approved for children under the age of 18.
Copaxone® (glatiramer acetate) is a prescription medication approved for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (also known as MS). The drug must be given by subcutaneous injection (with a small needle, just under the skin) once a day.
Multiple sclerosis is a disease of the central nervous system, affecting the brain and spinal cord, and is the leading cause of disability among young adults. Early symptoms of multiple sclerosis include:
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of balance
- Fatigue (see Multiple Sclerosis Fatigue)
- Blurred or double vision and/or eye pain
- Tingling or numbness.
As the disease worsens, other possible symptoms may appear, such as:
- Depression (see Multiple Sclerosis and Depression)
- Loss of bladder control
- Muscle stiffness, also known as spasticity (see Spasticity in Multiple Sclerosis)
- Memory loss.
There are four basic patterns or types of multiple sclerosis. The most common pattern is relapsing-remitting MS, which consists of episodes of symptoms that last for days or weeks, followed by a period of no symptoms for weeks or months. A less common pattern is progressive MS, a steady worsening of symptoms from the first sign of illness. The two other main forms include secondary-progressive and progressive-relapsing. Copaxone is approved for the treatment of relapsing-remitting MS.
It is important to understand that the multiple sclerosis prognosis can vary widely and that a multiple sclerosis diagnosis does not necessarily lead to a shorter life or a life of disability. Not only are there treatments to help manage the symptoms, but there are also several new multiple sclerosis medications that actually alter the course of the disease. Copaxone is one of these medications.