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Glatiramer Acetate (Systemic)
In the U.S.-
Another commonly used name is copolymer-1.
Glatiramer acetate ( gla-TIR-a-mer ASS-a-tate) is used in the treatment of the relapsing-remitting form of multiple sclerosis (MS). This medicine will not cure MS, but may extend the time between relapses.
This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription, in the following dosage form(s):
Before Using This Medicine
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For glatiramer acetate, the following should be considered:
Allergies- Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to glatiramer acetate. Also tell your health care professional if you are allergic to any other substances, such as foods, preservatives, or dyes.
Pregnancy- Glatiramer acetate has not been studied in pregnant women. However, this medicine has not been shown to cause birth defects or other problems in animal studies.
Breast-feeding- It is not known whether glatiramer acetate passes into the breast milk. Although most medicines pass into breast milk in small amounts, many of them may be used safely while breast-feeding. Mothers who are taking this medicine and who wish to breast-feed should discuss this with their doctor.
Children- Studies on this medicine have been done only in adult patients, and there is no specific information comparing use of glatiramer acetate in children with use in other age groups.
Older adults- Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults or if they cause different side effects or problems in older people. There is no specific information comparing the use of glatiramer acetate in the elderly with use in other age groups.
Other medicines- Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your health care professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.
Other medical problems- The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of glatiramer acetate. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems.
Proper Use of This Medicine
Use this medicine exactly as directed by your doctor in order to help your condition as much as possible.
Special patient directions come with glatiramer acetate injection. Read the directions carefully before using the medicine .
It is important to follow several steps to prepare your glatiramer acetate injection correctly. Before injecting the medication, you need to:
It is important that you do not touch the tops of the vials or the needles in order to keep everything sterile. Also, use only the diluent (sterile water) provided with the glatiramer acetate to dilute the medicine for injection.
To mix the water and the powder :
To prepare the injection syringe:
To give yourself the injection:
Before you self-inject the glatiramer acetate dose, decide where you will inject yourself. There are seven injection sites on your body, and you should not use any site more than once each week. Marking a calendar will help you keep track of the sites you have used each day. Try to be consistent and give yourself the injection at the same time each day. Choose a time when you feel strongest.
To dispose of needles and syringes:
Needles, syringes and vials should be used for only one injection. Place all used syringes, needles, and vials in a hard-walled plastic container , such as a liquid laundry detergent container. Keep the cover of this container tight and out of the reach of children. When the container is full, check with your physician or nurse about proper disposal, as laws vary from state to state.
The dose of glatiramer acetate will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label . The following information includes only the average doses of glatiramer acetate. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
If you miss a dose of this medicine, take the missed dose as soon as possible. However, if you do not remember the missed dose until the next day, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.
To store this medicine:
Precautions While Using This Medicine
Do not stop using this medicine without first checking with your doctor .
Side Effects of This Medicine
Side Effects of This Medicine
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
The most commonly occurring side effects of glatiramer acetate are redness, pain, inflammation, itching, or a lump at the site of the injection. Some patients have reported a rare reaction that started immediately after the injection and consisted of flushing, chest tightness with racing or pounding heartbeat, anxiety, and difficulty in breathing. The symptoms of this reaction generally lasted approximately fifteen minutes and resolved without any further problems. However, if you inject glatiramer acetate and experience dizziness, hives and itching, sweating, chest pain, difficulty in breathing, or other uncomfortable changes in your general health, call your doctor immediately. If symptoms become severe, or you cannot reach your doctor, call 911 or the appropriate emergency phone number in your area for assistance.
Also, check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. However, check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:
Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT